More Sets of Lenses (January 31, 2013)

…Opening To…

We say we read to “escape.” …A book so excites our imagination that we “consume” it… What would it feel like to consume the sacred book? Or to be consumed by it? To eat it, chew it, swallow it, digest it, to make it a part of you? (Roger Ferlo)

…Listening In…

You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Galatians 5:13-14; context)

…Filling Up…

The fourth thing you should do when you read the Bible is to read it with other people. Reading the Bible alone is a fine practice in itself, but when you read the Bible in a group, you will hear perspectives different from your own, which can help you go deeper into the text. This practice is the human equivalent of reading several translations at once.

Another person might read a sentence with completely different emphasis than you have. Another person might gravitate to a different place in the text than you have. Another person might affirm your interpretation or challenge yours with one of her own. In all of these instances, the other people with whom you read act as more sets of lenses through which you view the text.

Here are a few suggestions for you if you are going to begin a Bible study group. Agree amongst yourselves never to put one another down for voicing an opinion about a text. Always accept feedback in a positive manner. Always listen to another fully rather than forming your own thoughts while he or she is speaking. Always wait for your turn to speak. And most importantly, always pray before and after your study. We’ll talk about that tomorrow.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you gave us each other in order than we might learn how to find you in each other. Help me to rely on others in order to come to a better appreciation of your grace in my life. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, gladdened by the prospect of meeting you in the Bible.

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