By Josh Corrick
We read at an average rate of 250 to 300 words per minute. From the earliest moment s in the day, whether it is a cereal box, the ticker under the morning news, or a status update on social media, we read. We read all different types of things road signs, bumper stickers, billboards, e-mails, restaurant menus, computer menus, news articles, subtitles, blogs, and even occasionally books. Reading is a necessary skill in a literate culture, for it empowers us with knowledge, whether lifesaving information on safety labels or trivial details about celebrities. Reading is such a part of our lives that we no longer ask why we read. We just do it. Out of all of the things we could possibly read in our world today the Bible is unlike any of them.
Most of what we read is consumed for what we may gain from it (i.e. information, assistance, entertainment, communication, etc.). Unfortunately, we may easily approach The Holy Scriptures from the same pragmatism, reading the Bible for what we may acquire from it – spiritual or otherwise. In Eat This Book, Eugene Peterson says, “…Spirit sourced writing – requires spiritual reading, a reading that honors words as holy, words as a basic means of forming an intricate web of relationships between God and the human, between all things visible and invisible.” While we may be accustomed to reading in all areas of our lives, we must take a different approach with Scripture.
This reception is not merely opening the book more, but reading it with the anticipation and faith that Christ will speak.
Reading the Bible is a simple but not easy task. It requires attention, to read carefully and meditate upon these words. It requires devotion, for our souls must cry out to God for illumination of these words. It requires grace, because ultimately we are called to live these words. “We open this book and find that page after page it takes us off guard, surprises us, and draws us into its reality, pulls us into participation with God on his terms.” The Bible calls for the reader to be whole heartedly involved in the text and join in the story that is being unfolded.
It is no wonder that Christ compares His Word to that of seed being thrown out on the ground by a farmer (see Mark 4). It has the potential to produce immeasurable fruit in the life of the believer, but only does so if the seed received can germinate and take root. This reception is not merely opening the book more, but reading it with the anticipation and faith that Christ will speak. Reading Scripture is important for us not because we should read it, not because reading makes us better Christians, not because it can be used to prove doctrines, but because it is the gift of nourishment to barren ground that may only produce life by the hands of a skilled Gardener.
1 Eugene H. Peterson, Eat This Book: A conversation in the art of spiritual reading (Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006). Pg 4
2 Peterson, Eat This Book, (Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006). Pg 6