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Loving the Word

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Psalm 119.18

In our effort to avoid bibliolatry (love of the Bible itself rather than of the God of the Bible) we can become casual, even dismissive, of scripture, particularly the parts we find difficult. This is especially likely since the application of the tools of literary criticism. Forensic examination of ancient texts can reveal fascinating and useful information but it is not enough to unlock the deeper meaning of devotional texts such as the Bible.

I am not advocating academic elitism because the kind of wisdom required to plumb the depths and scale the heights of Holy Scripture is not reserved for the clever but for the committed. Approaching the Bible in humility and faith is what is required, whatever one's academic credentials. That explains the Psalmist's request that God should open their eyes in order that they may read and understand - truly, deeply, fully.

Instead of approaching the Bible arrogantly, presuming it to exist for our convenience as an instruction manual or a love-letter or an ancient document (though it is all of these!), the Psalmist demonstrates an attitude of wonder, in which we place ourselves under - rather than over - the text. If we remember that the Bible's message ultimately finds expression in the Living Word - who is Jesus - that might help us to approach with more careful tread...



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