Wednesday, December 31, 2008

200 Words #5: Inwardly Digest his Holy Scriptures

DNA of a Maturing Church:

200 Words #5: Inwardly Digest his Holy Scriptures:
Anglicans use great verbs like ‘Hear’, 'Read’, ‘Mark’, ‘Learn’, and ‘Inwardly digest'?

The Bible says a lot about itself, but not for itself. It claims to be living, like your heart. And infallible, making the believer wise for salvation. It is more life-giving than bread. It’s a torch (guiding feet); a scalpel (dividing soul from spirit); rain (yielding crop). It is narrative; history; poetry; prophecy; each announcing (and sometimes questioning) bold truth. It is Revelation, from cover to cover revealing Jesus.

God doesn't merely dictate the Bible. He breathes it. It is Spiritual Food to be digested, sometimes bitter; sometimes sweet. If God removed his Prophetic Word, it would be worse than a sub-Saharan food crisis.

It is a risk from God: open to misinterpretation and twisting. It is ‘Christianity’s Dangerous Idea’. So we need to read it, more and everywhere. But most of all, in Church. Old and New Testaments. Psalm. Gospel. (Do we shamefully read it less than liturgical liberals do?)

The prayer is that the Word might dwell among us, richly.

Tell me, is 'inwardly digest' tautology? Is it possible to 'outwardly digest’? Perhaps the Ancients chose tautology as the only way to push past stubborn hearts.

NEXT: Promote Preaching with Gravitas.

Scripture references, either click on the yellow links, or by clicking HERE.
(Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:15, Deuteronomy 8:3, Psalm 119:105, Hebrews 4:12-13, Isaiah 55:10-11, Habakkuk 1:1-3, John 5:37-40, 2 Peter 1:19-21, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 5:12, Revelation 10:9-10, Psalm 119:103, Amos 8:11-12, 2 Peter 3:15-16, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Colossians 3:16.)
Pics on Flickr by YanivG.


Karen Marie said...

Excellent question, how do we inwardly digest? And how does that compare to outwardly digesting? There is something so beautiful about wrestling with the ideas of scripture intimately before God. But for me that is only ever initiated when I am challenged to do so in community. We cannot be left to solely ingest our community's viewpoint on scripture, neither can we allow our personal viewpoints to go unchallenged.

Justin said...

Karen Marie,

Brilliant remarks. The Scripture 'Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly' is I believe a community activity. It's 'Let the word dwell in You'all' (plural). That is, it we wrestle together, and the word dwells within -- the inward digestion is within the church. Not to deny personal reading, but to strengthen it, as you point out.

As to outwardly digesting. I think that the way the metaphor of 'eating' works is this: while the body is strengthened, it can grow and live for service beyond itself. There is no outward digestion -- it can't happen. A community who inwardly digest lives beyond itself.

That's Point 9.

Heather said...

Perhaps you could think of it as reduplication at a lexical level rather than tautology which has negative connotations. In that case it would serve the usual purpose(s) of reduplication such as intensification, etc.

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