Friday, April 25, 2008


Imagine what would happen if gradually all the words of Scripture disappeared off the face of the earth. What would that be like? And imagine some time passing and what might occur among Christians and in the world after this phenemona. What might we learn from this? And then imagine Scripture gradually and fully reappearing on all the pages and places it had disappeared from. And what the end result might be, or at least the impact on the world at that time.

John Frye has written a recent and interesting short novel entitled, Out of Print. In it he works through this scenario with a number of characters one can identify with. From "ordinary" Christians to a Christian professor, a missionary couple whose painstaking work in translating Scripture into a language for the first time is lost, along with others. It is a good read, and two weeks from now on Friday, May 9 I will post on it to help us think it through. In the mean time you can order your own copy and read it beforehand.

I've had seasons in which I've slacked off in reading the Bible, and interestingly have often sensed more of the Spirit in my life during such times. They've actually been rare, as I've spent alot of my Christian life fairly heavy, relatively speaking I guess, in the word largely through hearing it and now largely through reading it, though I've begun to listen to it again.

A friend of mine thinks I may often be getting in the way of God. That I'm trying to do more than what God has done or is doing in me. Of course we're to work out what God is working in us. I think this friend has a point in what they're telling me. They're not telling me to be in the word less, but sometimes I think the way I'm in the word of God can actually get in the way of God's word getting through to me. It's like a steady drum beat that if one is not careful can become humdrum. I may be in it just to be in it, rather than be changed by it, or by God through his word.

I like to be in the word frequently throughout each day (though I do admit to slacking off often during normal weekends without missing my normal Bible reading for the most part) and in different ways: listening to it, interacting through a passage with others (our weekly team devotions at RBC Ministries), glancing at a passage I'm slowly working through throughout the day at work, use a different translation or rendering such as The Message, even working through a psalm from my small Bible while I'm driving, which you'll be happy to hear I don't do anymore (though Tiffany thinks I drive at least just as well doing that, which I hope doesn't tell you anything about my driving that's bad!).

Anyhow I look forward to thinking through John's novel together. It's stimulating and fun, and hopefully we can bounce some thoughts off each other and learn some things to both deepen our appreciation of the word, and promote its impact on us, or perhaps better put, God speaking into our lives.

What might you like to add to all of this?


Mark Goodyear said...

Ted, this reminds me of Hilkiah and King Josiah in 2 Kings 22:8-10. The king sends them to clean up the temple, and they come back saying, "We found this book." Josiah reads it and tears his clothes.

We have so many Bibles around today, we don't bother to get worked up over it half the time.

Rachel Mc said...

Thank you for this post! I too have times when I just can't read the Bible, I can't get anything out of it and I always thought it was my problem. I never would have thought the Spirit was using these times to get thru to me..I just assumed I wasn't trying hard enough. "I might be getting in the way of God"...I think that describes me because I am an accountant and I want books (even the Bible) to be black and white and I want God's interaction with me and the Bible to be black & white.....but God really likes grey! I am ordering this book and the other one you mentioned this weekend. Both sound perfect for me!

L.L. Barkat said...

I like to sit outside and read at least a chapter each day (well, each day that I go out!). Sometimes something gets in. Sometimes it's just a ritual. But the ritual makes it possible for the "getting in".

Anonymous said...

interesting to think upon the written word and the Spirit working into our lives. i like the way you are writing your posts these days. it is like you becoming more comfortable with sharing, and that is very inspiring and endearing in a way of realting with others. the book sounds like a very good idea and i am grateful that you are making a place for all to read and talk about it.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, Mark. We are rather blase over what we have and take for granted. If it were gone, I wonder if we would be. We might be scrambling to remember it, and the Spirit might use it to get us back to basics and to see it more clearly as God intends for us to see it, by the Spirit and from each other.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I do think God hits us in ways we need from Scripture. We can read the same passage, yet come up with different things from it as it corresponds to both the richness and complexity of life, quite often.

Yes, this book along with L.L.'s will each be rich reads.

Ted M. Gossard said...

So very true. Yes, it more often than not gets through to me only later or after repeated times of reading it, it seems, I mean over time. I think when we sometimes think we're just seeing something for the first time, though we've read or heard the passage dozens of times before may be a case in point. Truth and light from it is dawning on us.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for your words of encouragement here. Actually L.L. has encouraged me in that direction in some of her past comments on this blog, and verified that in our recent conversation with her here in GR.

Hopefully I can keep that up.

Anonymous said...

ordered the book today.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Cool, Nancy.