May 23, 2011: How Is God Speaking To You?

Posted on : May 23rd, 2011 | By | Category: Still Speaking

As Christians, we believe that the Bible is the word of God. But what does that mean?

These days, the Bible confuses us. Christians, churches, and the general church culture often seem unclear about exactly what the Bible is and how to approach it. Many consider it a document to be taken literally, even though this is not truly possible. Others regard it as a historical document to be picked apart, analyzed, and perhaps ultimately discarded or set on a shelf next to other important books. Christians in different factions use the bible to attack one another, even if only figuratively. Finally some find the Bible a book of great value, once they can find passages they like, those texts that reinforce what they already believe about God.

(Daniel Wolpert)

When we say the Bible is God’s word we mean that in it we find God’s word for us – God’s will for us – meaning that through the Bible God speaks to us and reveal God’s self to us. To read the Bible is to enter into a living world, a world from which God speaks to us. The Bible tells stories of many different kinds of people and many types of communities:

People in exile, people in transition

Growing communities, dying communities

People in crisis, people faced with difficult choices

Poor communities, rich communities

The disenfranchised, the marginalized

People trying to make sense, people trying to live this life.

In it all

–  God enters

–  God speaks

–  God acts

–  God saves

And when we read these stories in the Bible, when we become familiar with their very contours:

It allows us to enter into the lives of these very people or communities and then see our own lives in the same light. We begin to discover Bible stories that are also our stories. We begin to recognize ourselves, our lives, our communities, our world in the life of the Bible. And the more we discover Bible stories in which we recognize ourselves, the more we hear God speaking to us out of Scripture. It is in this process of reading and contemplating on these particular stories that we begin to open ourselves up to the Spirit to guide and lead us to act in such a way, to make decisions in such a way, to hope in such a way, to love in such a way, to live in such a way as God envisions for us. It is to hear God speak into our lives.

You are to love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Let these words that I am command you today be written in your hearts. Teach them diligently to your children.  Repeat them constantly whether you are sitting at home or walking down the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.  Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.

(Deuteronomy 6:5-9)

If we would take the words of Deuteronomy seriously, then:

Scripture would become so deeply embedded in our lives that it need not be drawn outand thought aboutto have influenceIt becomes part of our very soulIt shapes and conforms us. Its very contours become the contours of our thoughts, words, and hopesThis is beyond the stage where Scripture is used to extract comforting verses or even principles of living”.  To internalize the Scripture means that it becomes so much part of us that the text begins to playwith us… Scripture becomes our most engaging conversation partner.

(Glandion Carney and William Lang)

How is God speaking to you? Which are the stories in the Bible that speak to you? In which stories of the Bible do you recognize yourself, or your life, or the life of your community?