While reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I found something about the way he viewed scripture that I want to share with you. I often refer to our scriptures as a “living word.” Bonhoeffer takes that thought and adds a personal dimension that I had not considered before.
This is how one of Bonhoeffer’s students describes it:
“He said that when you read the Bible, you must think that here and now God is speaking with me. He wasn’t as abstract as the Greek teachers and all the others. Rather, from the very beginning, he taught us that we had to read the Bible as if it were directed at us, as the word of God directly to us. Not something general, not something generally applicable, but rather with a personal relationship to us. He repeated this to us very early on, that the whole thing comes from that.”
The “whole thing” in that last sentence would be our faith and our relationship with God. As I thought about that, I realized that this is the root of my thinking about scripture as a living word. It is alive because of the personal aspect. When scripture becomes a personal message from God to me, I see and understand it in the light of my life and experiences. Another way of saying that would be that rather than trying to relate it to my life, that it informs my life.
When I look at one of my favorite passages, 1 Peter 2, in this light it takes on new and deeper meaning. I am Holy because God is Holy. I am part of a royal priesthood. I am special because God chose me.
I invite you to approach your reading of scripture as God’s word for YOU and experience the living word of God.
Lord, thank you for your living Word. Amen.
Always, to God be the glory!