Thursday, January 25, 2007

Reading the Scriptures "Devotionally"

I've never been up this road so I don't know what's on the other side.

Have you ever become so comfortable with Scripture--too comfortable with Scripture because you know how it ends at the back leather cover--that it fails to interest you?

In fact, have you stopped reading a passage because you know how it ends?


Have you ever tried to read Scripture but got distracted from trying to read, in context, the sitz im leben of the passage?

Have you distracted yourself by thinking, "Is this New Testament phrase in Aleph or B? Should I go with the Majority Text, here?" (Not that there's anything wrong with scholarship--far from it--but it can hinder a devotional time.)

There are two killers to devotional reading:

1. Familiarity with a passage.
2. Preoccupation with a scholar's tools of the trade.

By "devotional" I'm not speaking of lazy exegesis; rather, I'm talking about the need to soak in the Word without becoming overly distracted by the familiarity or the textual questions of the Bible. While a person can't divorce himself from such considerations--and I don't think it would be healthy to do so--he should strive to allow the Word to feed his soul without his BDAG or UBS 4th Ed. Cor. always by his side.

There is time for scholarship and there is time for devotional reading.

How do we answer problem # 1?

Perhaps the answer lies in forcing oneself to read unfamiliar passages of the Bible. After all, there are 66 books in the canon.

How do we answer problem # 2?

I still haven't figured that one out!