Clarity — First Step

For any Christian, the first step in obtaining clarity should be obvious — consult God’s Word.  Every one of us should be in the Word frequently.  When the pandemic hit, our church’s weekly Bible study was cancelled for a time.  In the church newsletter my husband, our Pastor, suggested this format for individual study.  If you’re not currently in a study group, or just want to increase your study time individually, you may want to give it a try.

Read one chapter of a book of the Bible each day (or every other day, or whatever time frame works best for you).  If you’re struggling with a particular question or issue, you might consult a study Bible or concordance and choose material that addresses it.  My husband suggested the book of Luke, but you could pick something else.  Then answer these questions:

  1. What is the key message of this passage?
  2. What verse or verses spoke most strongly to you?  Why?
  3.  Did you find anything surprising?
  4. Did you find anything that contradicts the values of our society — or your own values?
  5.  Do you sense a call to change?

I have been reading a chapter of Luke weekly and journaling my answers.  This is a way of reading the Scriptures that can help you bring the Word to bear on your own life.  You might call it prayerful, especially if you ask God to enlighten you as you meditate on the passage and contemplate how you will respond.  This process of study is similar to a kind of spiritual reading known as lectio divina.  For more information see this post:

Spiritual Reading

I feel very strongly that God guides my reading and speaks to me through it.  There is no better way to gain clarity than to make time, take time and listen to what God has to say.

He loves you and so do I!

Eat This Book

“I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll;  and he said to me, ‘Take it and eat;  it will be bitter to your stomach, but sweet as honey in your mouth.’  And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it;  it was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.”  Rev. 10:  9-10

If you’ve never read anything by Eugene Peterson, you should.  Peterson is professor emeritus of spiritual theology at Reagent College, Vancouver, British Columbia.  He is author of the popular modern paraphrase of the Bible, The Message.  

Eat This Book, has been sitting on our bookshelf for some time and I decided that as it went along with our November theme, now was the time to delve into it.  As usual, I’m not disappointed with Peterson’s work.  It deals with the topic of “spiritual reading.”  According to Peterson we need to read the Bible not just for information;  not just for inspiration and comfort; not just as a guide for ethical living.  We need to “eat” the Bible –digest it, and take it into our lives so that it nourishes us and affects us on a very basic level.  Most of the time, we use the Bible to help us in our life;  we need to take the Bible in so that it uses us — instead of making the Bible part of our lives, we need to become part of its’ life and narrative.

In the quote above from Revelations, an angel gives John a scroll to eat;  first it is sweet, but it becomes bitter.  According to Peterson, when we become Christians, our first taste of Scripture is wondrously tasty — however, as we continue in the Word, we find that there are many things that are hard to digest, understand and accept.

“We are fond of saying that the Bible has all the answers.  And that is certainly correct.  ….But the Bible also has all the questions, many of them that we would just as soon were never asked of us, and some of which we will spend the rest of our lives doing our best to dodge. …you can’t domesticate this book to what you are comfortable with.”  from Eat This Book

I hope some other authors and readers will take a look at Peterson’s book this month.  You’ll be challenged to a whole new level of reading the Scriptures.