How can we open our ears afresh to the Scriptures?

(SeanO) #1

When Frederich Buechner was preaching one of his first sermons to a group of disinterested young people, he challenged them to avoid hearing only what they expect to hear. What are some ways that you think we can open our ears to hear the Scriptures afresh? Do you have any stories from your own life when a particular passage struck you in a new or powerful way as you heard it afresh?

And I think that what most people expect to hear read from the Bible is an edifying story, an uplifting thought, a moral lesson—something elevating, obvious, and boring. So that is exactly what very often they do hear. Only that is too bad because if you really listen—and maybe you have to forget that it is the Bible being read and a minister who is reading it—there is no telling what you might hear.

(Brian Lalor) #2

Sean I was mentored by an American evangelist in Ha Noi who had a fabulous knowledge of the scriptures and the Hebrew language. He said to me once, “The Bible is so shallow that a mouse can walk in it, and so deep that an elephant can swim in it”. Early in my walk when, “the penny would drop” about things like the significance of Abraham’s sacrifice, the meaning of Passover, how I am his bride etc. I would often be brought to tears. As time went on this became less frequent.

In the past few years I have been influenced by the mystics like Sadhu Sundar Sing, Heidi Baker, and others who are chasing after His heart. This has led me to spending hours “soaking” in His presence. Usually these times end up looking like me meditating on scripture (or falling asleep :rofl:). This has led to me going much deeper and finding gold in the Word.

My most recent, revelation has been about the temple. I have been meditating on the three parts of the temple, how the garden was the first type of temple, to how we are now the temple. I could talk about this at length, but in response to your question: There is nothing like the Word of God. It is so deep! I pray that we may all grow in our love and knowledge of His word.

(SeanO) #3

@brianlalor It is amazing how themes - like God’s presence in the temple of His creation and now His Church - run throughout the Scriptures. Buechner is interesting to me because on the one hand I would not consider him a mystic. If anything, he was more of a skeptic who still dwelt within the household of faith. And yet he still realized that when we read the Scriptures afresh we recognize something profound about who we are, who God is and the nature of the world in which we live.

(Brian Lalor) #4

I have not yet been introduced to his work @SeanO but I am going to look it up. Thank you for introducing me to Buechner.

(Keith Moore) #5

Before I was a Christian I tried a couple of times to read the Bible, always starting in Genesis and giving up around Exodus 24. It was so dull to me. When I became a Christian I sat down one day and just read and read. I couldn’t get enough! I think we need to remember that the Bible is a spiritual book. Now whenever I read I always pray first, “Holy Spirit open my eyes and heart today as I read your word.” There is always sonething that jumps out, whether it speaks to a situation I’m facing, something I need to change, or simply an interesting detail I never noticed before.
The other thing I recommend to people is Bible study, not just reading. Digging into context, culture, history, themes, genre, and so on, really helps bring the Bible alive as well as helping to interpret and apply it well.

(Carson Weitnauer) #6

Hi @SeanO,

I really appreciate the question! I think of Os Guinness’ statement that contrast is the mother of clarity. I think we need to come to the Scriptures with a humble heart and mind, looking for the contrast between how we are living and the life that the Scripture is inviting us to participate in. Then, with God’s great power, repenting of our sin and choosing to live a faithful, obedient, joyful life in friendship with our great King and Savior. Apart from this desire to repent and obey, the Scripture becomes informational or even a means to prideful self-development.

(SeanO) #7

@Keith_Moore Great point! I think when the Bible is perceived as communication from the living God to us - when we really believe that - we have a deeper engagement with it. We don’t stop when things are confusing - we press deeper into the text trusting and believing that not only is it rational, but that it can impact our lives.

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(SeanO) #8

@CarsonWeitnauer That is so true. I think one thing Buechner does so well is to invite even the unbeliever and the skeptic to breath the Narnian air, as Lewis said. For those willing to listen, the Scriptures offer an amazing narrative that can capture the imagination even of the unbeliever. I have always been intrigued by the engagement with Scripture of people like Madeleine L’Engle, whose views were hardly orthodox. But I think the fact that people who reject traditional orthodoxy still want to hang around the Scriptures shows their power and the truth they contain; their capacity to imbue life with direction and meaning if we really listen.

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