The Sunday Collegium is studying through Playing With Fire by Walt Russell, Ph.D., Professor of Bible Exposition, Talbot School of Theology. I'll be posting short essays in response to each week's reading. This week we read the preface and general introduction.
We make claims about the Bible. We claim it is God's Word. We claim it is true, powerful, useful, and correct. We make these claims with our lips. But we behave as if the Bible is a self-help book that we read when WE have needs or desires.
But the Bible is most certainly NOT a self-help book. It is, rather, God's linguistic revelation of himself. This is an amazing thing. This means the Bible is not under our control. We do not decide the Bible's meaning and significance. We do not decide its usefulness. We do not pick and choose according to our needs and desires.
Rather, we place ourselves in God's presence. I think this has implications for how we read and study the Bible. I think it means we read and study HUGE chunks--whole books, whole sections, and whole Testaments. It means we study, respecting the divine-human nature of the Bible.
Because the Bible is divine, we trust it and obey it. We submit to the shaping. Because it is divine, we discipline ourselves, setting aside our desires and excuses. There is not good reason not to read and study God's linguistic revelation of himself.
Because the bible is human, we read and study, respecting it as human literature. This means grammar, syntax, literary devices, genre, history, culture, etc., matter, and matter greatly. Because the Bible is human literature, we study deeply to discover (NOT decide) the original authors' intended meaning. Because the Bible is human literature, we understand it in the context of the human author's culture BEFORE trying to understand it in our culture. This means the our response to the Bible ALWAYS corresponds to the meaning and significance intended by the human and divine authors.
Bible reading is not a source of spiritual fuzzies. Bible reading and study is disciplined submission to the Sovereign Lord and Creator of the Universe. It is nothing less. We dare not make excuses.
Tag(s): hermenuetics spiritual formation bible study
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Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org/