Reflections on not reading the bible


This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Today there will be a lot of words. Each one pored over. Each one weighed. Each one judged. It struck me how many column inches are produced each fourth year. How few column inches are produced each Christmas.

This is the word of the Lord.

Today He and I passed on the God-truth-protein-pills of one verse.  We passed on “The Verse of the Day”.   Today we bumped into the “Listener’s Bible”.

The word of God.  Biblegateway.  James was today’s default.  James 1.  The whole chapter.  No verse numbers.  No pausing for breath (unless I pressed the pause button).  A speech to spoken.  A speech to be pored over.  A speech to be weighed.  An exhortation to guide, to direct, to teach, to inspire, to maintain, to discipline.  A speech of do this or that, of do this because of that, of do this or that will be the consequence. A  speech to be pored over, words that are heard rather than read.  And … it is very “preachy” when I listen like this.  I never knew!.

So I selected Matthew 5.  Just because.  And away we went.  The Be Attitudes. The salt and light. The Law and I haven’t come to … The they say, but I say

And there is a difference.  A massive difference.  Jesus (as the word of God) is not preachy.  In Matthew I heard love without condition – I “heard” the difference between James and Jesus:

Jesus connects with those who are curious. James connects with those already committed.  Jesus invites and offers.  James tells and instructs.  But both intend to be heard.  Both speak.  Jesus directly.  James via his writing.

I wonder.

All these words written in all these blogs and posts – the words in this post … Do they invite or instruct? Do they divine or discipline? Do they allow or direct? Do they use logic – or do they allow logic as different within each?  Do they paint pictures or write lists?  Are they for the curious or the committed?  Are they in this world – or something higher, wider and deeper?  And are they yet more commandments – or the very heart of “the commandment“?

Because I was struck by the difference in style between the two J’s today.  And I have never really noticed that before.  Not as I take my one daily protein pill – my daily cocktail of a few verses.  I have never listened to the word of God like this.  Because even in church the “protein pills” are selected and tested … edited and flavoured so as to be “palatable” to that day’s congregation.  The Word of God is filleted to fit the preacher’s message.

My alterative daily verses and Sacred Space  led through a sequence of “preparing to meet the Lord reflections”:  Presence … Freedom … Consciousness … and then The Word of God.

One of the reflections I remember is this:  “A thick and shapeless tree-trunk would never believe that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture, and would never submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor, who sees by her genius what she can make of it.” St. Ignatius (1491-1556)

And this morning I sit and ponder the bible we revere … esteem … protect … fight over … divide over … scorn over … dismiss over … come together over … and I hear His voice playing with that quote:  A thick and shapeless bible would never believe that it could become a thing of beauty, admired as a miracle of creation, and would never submit itself to the playfulness of the seeker, who sees by their passion what they can make of it.

I wonder …

If we never play with the word of God – how will we ever allow God to play with us?

Footnote:

What do I mean by play with God – allowing God to play with us … ?

This was the sidebar of the page in which the quote above was written:  “COPYRIGHT INFORMATION  © *(Name) and (Blog Title and year). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (name) and (blog title) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.”

The word or God we plagiarise. The voice of God we love. The very Saviour through whom we wish “to save others”. This very gift of grace …  And we slap “copyright” all over our cleverness.

I find that odd.

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12 thoughts on “Reflections on not reading the bible

  1. My reading this morning:

    John 5:39-40The Message (MSG)

    39-40 “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.

    I am sitting with this as we speak…

  2. Interesting thoughts to ponder. For my part, I write about the Bible because it helps me focus. If I read without writing, I might gain some insight, but when I write, I’m attempting to explain it and it forces me to mediate/chew on/wrap around what God is telling me through His word.

  3. You just reminded me, I have the entire Bible on CD; it’s all dramatic reading called The Bible Experience. I haven’t listened to it in years. Thank you for that! Truly, thank you.
    I, too, am baffled by the copyright notices on Bibles. They are God’s words, are they not?
    (And that is why I made the decision not to sell the devotionals I wrote; to simply give them away to those who want them.)

    • Susan, I am not a big fan of listening to someone else’s “drama”. But – like you – He just went “Whatever ..” and allowed me to find something new again!

      (And thank you for your comments about your devotionals – I know how much they mean to you, how much of your relationship with the Lord is in them. That is very very special!)

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