Formed by Scripture

Continuing from the previous post in this kind-of series:

The reading of Scripture is somewhat different than the reading of other stories, because Scripture, while open to a range of interpretations on the part of the reader, is something that shapes, forms or interprets us. We don’t read Scripture only to interpret it and to draw meanings from it (thought that is, obviously enough, an incredibly important part of Scripture reading) but to be conformed to its Truth. The Truth of the Scriptures is Jesus, in whose image we are conformed by the work of the Holy Spirit, without whom the real Truth of the Scriptures would remain hidden. This is the real goal of Scripture reading – to be conformed to the image of Christ.

While the work of the Spirit isn’t limited in any way, Christian experience suggests that certain practices lend themselves better to an open and receptive frame of mind and heart than others. The frame of mind and heart one has while reading the Scriptures really do matter – again, while the Spirit works without limit, a reading of Scripture which takes time to prayerfully and patiently meditate on the text will be of far more benefit than a quick glance in a hurried frame of mind.

This suggests something that most people are uncomfortable with, myself included: submission to something outside of ourselves in order to be shaped into something better than ourselves. We must seek to be shaped by something which claims us and calls us to account. To be conformed by the Spirit to the Truth of the Scriptures means, on our part, a forsaking of sin (or at least the concentrated effort to forsake sin).

This means that reading Scripture, if one’s reading is to have any kind of spiritual significance, requires a true submission to the Work of the Spirit in conforming us to the Truth of the Scriptures.

7 thoughts on “Formed by Scripture

  1. notes from the John April 6, 2014 / 2:56 pm

    To read is to interpret or make meaning. This applies with equal force to Bible stories as it does other literary works. One of the reasons we have so many different expressions of Christianity today is that the readers of the Bible have decided to disagree on what the stories mean. Appealing to the holy spirit offers little remedy in terms of aligning the competing interpretations since often people claim the holy spirit was what lead them to interpret Scripture one way rather than another.


    • whitefrozen April 6, 2014 / 3:00 pm

      This post isn’t an appeal to the Spirit to solve problems of interpretation but rather a very brief explanation of the role of the Spirit in conforming us to the image of Christ.


  2. Rod April 6, 2014 / 9:32 pm

    Good stuff mate. I love reading reminders like the one given here.


    • whitefrozen April 8, 2014 / 9:17 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Rod. It’s definitely a reminder I need on a daily basis.


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