Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bible as Theology or Devotion?

One of the things I have noticed recently is that I have preferred to read the Bible more from a perspective of contemplation and devotion than trying to define theology. What I mean by that is not worrying as much about how to believe in certain systems and what is or is not a sin, but rather exploring the character of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit and what the journey of faith is like. Charlie Wear recently wrote a post entitled, Getting to Know God Through His Book, which I think gets to some of these ideas, too.

Most of the biblical authors seem to have written from a devotional perspective. While devotion definitely has an element of theology, devotional texts are very different from systematic theology tomes. Yet many times, we ignore the celebration of Christ as we read the Bible, instead looking for ways to defend our system of beliefs.

This leads us to miss out on a huge part of the beauty and power and message and truth of the Bible. Instead, viewing the Bible as primarily a theological text, I think, makes us more likely to be defensive about our particular readings of it, thus making it more difficult to accept the superficial paradoxes and contradictions.

The Jesus Creed blog recently ran a post about reading the Bible both critically and religiously. In it, they ask:

What does it mean to read the Bible religiously?
Is the Bible a book we submit to and proclaim?
Is the Bible a book we wrestle with – critically, theologically, practically – to discover God?

I don't think the Bible as theological text is incompatible with the Bible as devotional text, but we need to remember that it is not only theological.

1 comment:

  1. To know God does not require a set of beliefs, or even any belief at all. To know God is to know God, by whatever means.



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