Sunday, February 13, 2011

There is a sense in which the Scriptures are the word of God dehydrated, with all the originating context removed -- living voices, city sounds, camels carrying spices from Seba and gold from Ophir snorting down in the bazaar, fragrance from lentil stew simmering in the kitchen -- all now reduced to marks on thin onion-skin paper. We make an effort at re-hydrating them; we take these Scriptures and spend an hour or so in the Bible study with friends or alone in prayerful reading. But five minutes later, on our way to work, plunged into the tasks of the day for which they had seemed to promise sustenance, there's not much left of them -- only ink on india paper. We find that we are left with the words of the Bible but without the world of the Bible. Not there is anything wrong with the words as such, it is just that without the biblical world -- the intertwined stories, the echoing poetry and prayers, Isaiah's artful thunder and John's extravagant visions - the words, like those seed words in Jesus' parable that land on the pavement or in the gravel or among the weeds, haven't take root in our lives.

Eugene Peterson, Eat this Book, p88.

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