The God of Scripture

In my formative Christian years I was taught to read the Bible in such a way that I’d have Scriptures to stand on in times of need. If I was sick then I should recite passages of Scripture that pertain to healing. If someone wronged me then I should meditate on Scriptures that address forgiveness. So on and so forth.

Over the last week or so I’ve been thinking about this because of something I said to my pastor that got him thinking. I said that the Bible is a book about God. There are countless stories contained within one big story but it’s all about what God has done, is doing, and will do. Everyone else is a part of God’s story. This seems obvious, right? It’s not though; at least not to everyone.

So in saying this I was making the point that we often read the Bible and ask what it means to us; what it’s saying to us; how it applies to us; etc. We want to know how this story about what God is doing fits into our lives rather than asking how our lives fit into God’s story.

So the thing I’ve been thinking about this last week is the way I was taught to read the Bible. I’m thinking that rather than atomizing the text and grabbing a contextless passage here and there in a time of need that I should focus on the overarching presentation of God in Scripture. After all, it is a book about him!

There’s more I’d like to say and I had something a bit more eloquent worked out in my head, but I’m extremely tired at the moment and it’s all jumbled up in there. I really wanted to get this out before I fell asleep and forgot about it tomorrow. So hopefully I’ll resume these thoughts at a later date in time.



4 thoughts on “The God of Scripture

  1. You’re on the right road IMO. Discovering the metanarrative – rather than reading the Bible piece-meal, taking passages as abstract, timeless, contextualess and so on – has changed everything for me.

  2. I once suggested this to a Sunday School class and some took it well, but others were clearly upset by it. But it seems pretty clear that when you read a book, you know the main character of the story by the fact that he’s present in the text from the beginning to the end. Everyone else who comes and goes is just a supporting character to help you understand the nature of the main character, his actions and his thoughts. Well done, Nick.

  3. Nick,

    I like part of what you say here, and I don’t like another part.
    The fact that you describe the Bible in terms of testimony (not your word) *about* God is a welcome departure from the “divine Word” concept that has infiltrated so much bibliology. The divine word bibliology is itself not scripturally sound.

    On the other hand, the idea that we are supposed to plug ourselves into God’s narrative is one that I keep running into in people’s writings, but it is an idea that has just as little purchase within the Bible as the idea of the Bible as “divine Word”.

  4. Derek: Me too.

    Hodge: Exactly!

    John: Apologies for the delayed response. I don’t think that we’re to plug ourselves into the actual narrative, if that’s how you understood me. I’m talking more about taking the Bible’s testimony about God, understanding his character from this testimony, and then responding accordingly, in life, outside the narrative.

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