READING SCRIPTURE – PART 1
“How are you reading Scripture?” is a question asked of Christ followers since the Reformation, when the Bible was translated into the language of the people. I confess that my main motivation for decades was to read it for knowledge. My conclusion was, especially as a seminary trained theologian, that I had to know more of the Bible than anyone I met. Worse yet, I concluded that knowing the Bible made me more spiritual. It was a simple equation that drove my biblical literacy and unfortunately promoted a level of self-righteousness and arrogance.
Check it off the list, one step closer to a goal, either self-imposed or declared as something biblical people achieve: Gold Stars of outward achievement vs. any type of inner transformation.
The first workshop I attended on spiritual formation (circa 1997) was led by John Ortberg. I was seeking another way to live more authentically.
He boldly made a claim that day and stated it later in his book, “The goal is not for us to get through the Scriptures. The goal is to get the Scriptures through us.” (The Life You’ve Always Wanted) Ouch! Those are convicting words to a self-described biblical know-it-all.
Photo by Daniel Gonzalez on Unsplash
The real issue I had to face was not how much of the Bible I was learning. Rather, I had to ask the deeper question, “Am I growing more in love with God and with people?” The real issue is what type of person was I becoming. Sure, a practice like reading Scripture is important. However, it is not to prove how spiritual we are. We read so that God can use these divinely inspired words to lead us into life in the Kingdom. Through them, we are invited to experience the depth of God’s love. Reading Scripture is just one of many disciplines by which we can grow toward the full life Jesus’ graciously promises that we can experience every day.
How do we practice getting scripture through us? Read more in Reading Scripture – Part 2.