Monday, September 11, 2006

eat this book - living it

"We are in the odd and embarrassing position of being a church in which many of us believe in the authority of the Bible but, instead of submitting to it, use it, apply it, take charge of it endlessly, using our own experience as the authority for how and where and when we will use it. . . . This book make us participants in the world of God's being and action; but we don't participate on our own terms. We don't get to make up the plot or decide what character we will be. . . . We enter this text to meet God as he reveals himself, not to look for truth or history or morals that we can use for ourselves . . . We do not read the Bible in order to find out how to get God into our lives, to get him to participate in our lives. That's getting it backwards." (pp.59,66,67)

"We are fond of saying that the Bible has all the answers. And that is certainly correct. . . . But the Bible also has all the questions, many of them that we would just as soon were never asked of us, and some of which we will spend the rest of our lives doing our best to dodge. The Bible is a most comforting book; it is also a most discomfiting book. Eat this book; it will be sweet as honey in your mouth; but it will also be bitter to your stomach. You can't reduce this book to what you can handle; you can't domesticate this book to what you are comfortable with." (p.66)

"Obedience is the thing, living in active response to the living God. The most important question we can ask of this text is not, 'What does this mean?' but 'What can I obey?' . . . Not that the study is not important." (p.71)

"Reading the Bible, if we do not do it rightly, can get us into a lot of trouble. The Christian community is as concerned with how we read the Bible as that we read it. It is not sufficient to place a Bible in a person's hands with the command, 'Read it.' That is quite as foolish as putting a set of car keys in an adolescent's hands, giving him a Honda, and saying, 'Drive it.' And just as dangerous." (p.81)
Source - Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene Peterson