Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hearing God's Word

It may have been Eugene Peterson who wrote about the importance of hearing scripture and not just reading it. This is partly a matter of methodology. Much of the Bible was originally written to be read aloud within the community, not silently and alone. Listening allows us to hear in a different "voice," perhaps pointing the way to new understandings simply by how it is read.

Listening to scripture is also partly a matter of attitude. It cannot be approached in the same way as reading. When I read, I am the one controlling the pace, voice, and even the content; but when I listen, I must approach the interaction differently, simply hearing what comes my way without so much internal spin.

Listening is done differently than reading, too. When I read, I am the one in control of the interaction between the author and me, but when I listen, I must approach it more submissively, waiting for the words instead of pursuing them. I cannot simply look for what I want; I can only listen for what God would say. This requires more attention.

I've been taking an online class recently on Tracing the Story of God in the Bible. It has been a good experience overall, and I've learned some good stuff. It has reminded me to listen -- in attitude, at minimum -- to the Bible more than looking for something in it.

I wonder what I'll discover tomorrow as I listen.

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