The Message Prayerful Reading Bible Sampler - Flipbook - Page 7
“How do you read?”
Reading the Bible, if we do not do it rightly, can get us into a lot of
trouble. We pick up a Bible and find that we have God’s word in our
hands, our hands. We can now handle it. It is easy enough to suppose
that we are in control of it, that we can use it, that we are in charge of
applying it wherever, whenever, and to whomever we wish without regard
to appropriateness or conditions.
Those who don’t know the conditions implicit in the technology of the Bible
are dangerous to themselves and others. And so, as we hand out Bibles and
urge people to read them, it is imperative that we also say, caveat lector, let the
The word of God is not my possession. The words printed on the pages of
my Bible give witness to the living and active revelation of the God of creation
and salvation, the God of love who became the Word made flesh in Jesus, and I
had better not forget it. If in my Bible reading I lose touch with this livingness,
if I fail to listen to this living Jesus, submit to this sovereignty, and respond to
this love, I become arrogant in my knowing and impersonal in my behavior.
An enormous amount of damage is done in the name of Christian living by bad
Bible reading. Caveat lector, let the reader beware.
Lectio divina trains us in the discipline of reading Scripture rightly. At every
turn of the page it poses Jesus’ question to us: “How do you read?”
Lectio divina is the deliberate and intentional practice of making the
transition from a kind of reading that treats and handles, however reverently,
Jesus dead to listening to, accompanying, and following Jesus alive. A word
written is less than a word spoken—and sometimes not even the same thing at
all. Which, of course, is why many of us prefer words written to words spoken.
It is simpler, we are more in control, we don’t have to deal with the complexities
of people. If we don’t like what we are reading we can shut the book and pick up
another—or go shopping, or take a walk, or spend an hour or so in the garden.
But we do not read the Bible in order to reduce our lives to what is convenient