I just started reading Eugene Peterson’s Eat This Book, and boy do I wish I had started it years ago. So often we approach the text in our church as if it is a dead text. It’s read like a legal document, history book, or any other text. But to approach the Bible this way is to discount the idea that it is living, breathing, and active. Listen to what Peterson says:
“Christians don’t simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus’ name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son.” Pg 18
I love that image. Scripture gets metabolized and produces fruit in our lives.
So often I read the Bible it seems just to gain information, or to study. None of this is inherently bad, but the text isn’t here for us to master it. It masters us. In fact, what kind of Holy Scripture do we have if we can totally sort it all out? What kind of God do we have when we have him figured out. We are always hinting at God, capturing images, praying for more. God cannot be mastered.
So, today I encourage you to do what Peterson recommends and eat this book. Let the text get down inside of you, shape you, transform you, convict you, teach you, move you into more deeply loving God and loving neighbor.
How would it change if we went to a text, read it, meditated on it, and asked a different set of questions. Instead of the classic factual questions, what if we asked things like: What am I learning about God here? What am I learning about the world? How might God be calling me to act in light of this text?
Eat the book. Digest it. Let the Holy Spirit work through the text to transform us into the image of Christ.