Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bible Interpretation

How we approach the Bible makes a big difference in our interpretation of it and then how we use it and apply it to our lives. In many evangelical circles, we view it as a manual of principles and a manual for life. I've been seeing and feeling recently that that is not a very accurate description of the Bible. A manual is defined by formulas and clear steps to take. That's not the Bible. It's mostly stories. And that does not diminish its value, importance, or impact. It just means we need to use it differently. John Eldredge describes some of this perspective (below). What do you think?

Find a Few of His Friends

Hopefully you will find a few folks who walk with God to also walk with you through the seasons of your life. But honesty – and Scripture – forces me to admit they are a rare breed. Few there are who find it. All the more reason for you to make the number less scarce, by becoming someone who walks with God and teaches others how.

Look to those who have walked with God down through the ages. Certainly that is why the Bible is given to us. If God had intended it to be a textbook of doctrine, well then, he would have written it like one. But its not; it’s overwhelmingly a book of stories – tales of men and women who walked with God. Approach the Scriptures not so much as a manual of Christian principles but as the testimony of God’s friends on what it means to walk with him through a thousand different episodes. When you are at war, when you are in love, when you have sinned, when you have been given a great gift – this is how you walk with God. Do you see what a different mindset this is? It's really quite exciting.

And there are those who have walked with God since the canon of Scripture closed. Here is an Athanasius, a Bonaventure, a Julian of Norwich, a Brother Lawrence, a Tozer – here is how they walked with God. When it comes to time and place, temperament and situation, they could not be more different. Julian lived in a cloister; Tozer lived in Chicago. Athanasius fled to the desert; Lawrence worked in the kitchen. But there is a flavor, a tang, an authenticity to their writings which underlies whatever it is they are trying at the moment to say. Here is someone who knew God, really knew him. This is what its like to walk with God, and that is what its like as well.

(Waking The Dead , 107, 108)

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Josh,

    Thank's for your post and for using a Daily Reading in your blog. We hope it will stir heart's to take a more helpful view of scripture. If you haven't already listened to it, I think you would really enjoy our audio resource, "The Utter Relief of Holiness." Check it out on our online store, www.ransomedheart.com.

    Thanks again,

    Julie from the team at Ransomed Heart



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