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25/11/2008

Comments

Ross in Alberta

The Bible - to be Lived or Read?

Stocki - you are one to assert that the Bible reads us. The premise you highlight is that the Holy spirit works out the word in the believer. And, what you contrast is this stance against the person who reads the Bible to know its text. When you’ve made these assertions you’ve been pointing to the Holy Spirit’s engagement in the believer’s Life as a recognizable, God-useful stage of development in the believer.

Your post, here, has me considering how the Bible has opened out for me. There’s been church as a child and youth – a nest of safety amongst believers. There’s been those believers who have been my adult-interrupters surfacing awareness of the mystery of salvation. There’s been the desire to investigate, to catch hold of what other’s claim was a gift. There’s been my interaction with the word, my reading or more accurately my listening to the Bible.

There’s been exegetical exposure and dialogue to the word; others were bringing me along ... occasionally with some discipline. There’s been confirmation of salvation. There’s been more hearing of the word, most notably via walkman or on a car stereo on those long-distance Canadian drives. Walking through Wood Buffalo National Park, every night, a Zondervan dramatized Bible became the text source from which to consider, wonder and occasionally see more and more of what was/is at play. In a small cluster comprised of many denominations, questions, answers and talk brought me along further. There was Walter Wangerin’s ‘The Book of God’ as a novel – again I saw more of what was/is at play. There was further confirmation about the message while counselling at Crowsnest Lake Bible camp.

Your post, as I’ve read it this morning, has me considering that throughout most of my interaction with the Bible I’ve been moving physically while hearing it, or, in the presence of believers in dialogue about it. It then has me consider the Bible Jesus had. And, two rhetorical questions shape a certain point. Did he have the Bible in his backpack or briefcase? Was he in possession of a Torah scroll? No. The one he carried was the one he lived out. For the apostles, the Bible probably had some minor connection to the Torah and Talmud; but, the actual interaction imprinting the word on their souls and minds was their interaction with Jesus as he lived out the word in dialogue, in his example, in the thinking and questions he provoked, and in the apostles recognition of the word lived out.

These days, music continues to be a part of the dialogue amongst believers. It’s sort of the mutual recognition of what’s at play within a parable. It’s those times when we ‘mine’ the lyrics of a song and then recognize its connection as it supports the word and message. The first time this happened for me was listening to what Robbie Robertson, Bono and Edge were doing with ‘Sweet Fire of Love.’ Then a few years later there was Martyn Joseph's 'He Never Said' and 'Strange Way' building upon the message.

I’d say that one of the hardest things to work through (or around) is interaction with the believer whose heart is not aflame. The scepticism, the mistrust, the checking things back to how action and thought coincide with the message, that significant influence is a hard thing to counter and overcome. We should be able to recognize love and grace more easily than by having our actions and words measured against the believer’s rubric of Christian thought and action. It’s the Bible, not the believer that reads us. And, perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that those who have seen the Bible’s working in me have brought me along in my walk.

Ross

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