Sunday, August 7, 2016

Read the Bible like you mean it

For me, reading the Bible can often become a mundane and banal thing. I'm used to doing it, since I completed a seminary degree. (Believe it or not, at Fuller they had us read the Bible, too.) And too often, I see reading the Bible as a simple and ordinary endeavor, rather than the profound encounter with God that it really is. And when I come across passages that I can't understand, or when I find my readings to be dry and lacking in vitality, I give up easily, rather than battling as I ought.

Other people, too, give up too quickly on reading the Bible because they find it a fruitless activity. They don't understand what is written on its pages, and they decide their time is better spent doing something else. But this demonstrates a lack of faithfulness and zeal on our part. Whereas more often than not, we read the Bible out of spiritual laziness, take note of how Origen says we ought to do it:
But let us too keep watch, because we often laze about around the fount of living water, that is, near the divine Scriptures, and we get lost in them. We have the Books and we read them, but we don't touch their deeper spiritual meaning. And that is why there is need of tears and ceaseless prayer for the Lord to open our eyes: neither would the blind men who were in Jericho have regained their sight, if they had not yelled towards the Lord (Hom. in Gen. VII, §6). 
When was the last time you cried out to God to help you understand what you were reading? Such an act would demonstrate that you actually care to know what he has to say to you. But many people—myself included—read the Bible half-heartedly and give up at the first sight of adversity or difficulty. If we want to see results, Origen tells us, we ought to put our heart and soul into our readings. We have to recognize that we are like some blind men who need our eyes opened so we can begin to see the real world as God created it!

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