Saturday, December 29, 2007

hearing God's word

I love to hear God's word well read, out loud (of course). And I love to hear it done in dramatic effect, well- not overdone, but giving us a feel for the story or what's being said. After all the Bible is just as human a book, as it is of God. Like Jesus, the Word who became flesh/human, the Bible is a God-human book. Not lessening its status as the word of God. Of course words are first, by nature, heard. They are spoken first and received by ear. Or written down and for most of God's people in Bible times, heard from one reading them out loud.

I used to go through the Bible several times a year by hearing its reading dramatized, or later, read- on tape. I used to drive my wife Deb, herself a lover of God's word- kind of "crazy" in doing so- and I was wrong for not letting her interrupt me the few times she wanted to, so I could catch everything. I grew tired of cassettes breaking and jamming. So I set it aside, after years of doing so, just a few years back.

I've enjoyed reading Scripture now in the conventional way, though I try to read slowly and "out loud" in my mind.

Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed recently had a post that rather excited me. He highly recommended The Bible Experience, a reading of Scripture done by a number of gifted people, done to give one the sense of being present- before the original writer or reader, or before the story itself. And so easily finding oneself becoming a part of that. I once sampled it in a bookstore and was much impressed. Now I've decided I want to pinch my dollars and get it. Though I still intend to keep to my more conventional way of going through Scripture daily- morning and evening. But like going through The Message, as I'm doing now, this will be at least a good supplement, and in itself a dynamic, that may mirror more the way God wants us to approach his word. With our whole human person, as those engaged with other humans and in story, with God and in his Story.

What has helped you in reading or hearing God's word? Or whatever you might add.


The Walk said...

I, too, have heard that the Bible Experience is quite good. I've never listened to the Bible on tape/CD but have been considering doing so myself recently.

I notice how when I'm faced with a dillemma or an unusual situation, Bible stories and verses will seem to pop into my head when I need them. You know, "I have written Your word on my heart..."

I notice that the music I listen to does this as well.

Scripture has so much power to transform. So I wonder if I listened to it (as well as reading it), if it might become even more a part of me.

And then comes the real challenge. Trying to live accordingly.

Anonymous said...

i know that my sister struggles with reading. she can not sit and read anything for more than a minute. she does like to listen to radio teachings or ministry on television. this might be a good way for her to get her bible input.

after all, i hear that everyone takes in information differently.

Ted M. Gossard said...

The Walk,
Yes. I think hearing the word can help us get it more into our minds and hearts- it can be more into our thoughts- and we can think and live more in tune with the Story of God. But all of that involves living according to that entire story, which involves God's revelation of his person, will, salvation in Christ- and our response to that of repentance and faith- and the ongoing working out of that salvation in our lives, in community with others and in our mission to the world. As you say, living it out is the real challenge.

But I've noticed all the same things you mention as well, in my own life. For me, I think listening to a good reading of Scripture has sharpened all of that.

But reading it myself, with Bible in hand allows me to pause and go back and read something again, when my mind wanders- or reflect on something again.

So for me both are good, not just one or the other.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Good point about how people learn differently. Admittedly, this may be more up my alley, as I seem to learn well by hearing, more than anything else. Though I think hearing, along with seeing and other senses involved, enhances it. The Bible Experience in the way it is done, does appeal to one's "seeing" in an imaginative sense which I believe is powerful and important to good learning, and to God's intention to us, in an important way, and giving us his word.

Hopefully that or something like it can help your sister.