Deeper Than Words | echo

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Christians and non-Christians may tend to use the scriptures only as a means of gathering information. The purpose of the Word of God got lost in the human agenda to know things instead of God himself.

While it is important to have a biblical basis and discernment on certain topics, reading it is so much deeper than knowing.

Rather, it is a tool for building a relationship with the Heavenly Father and guiding us in understanding who he is and who we are in him. It is essential for us to remember that God gave us his Word with much more intention.

“The importance of the Word of God is that it should be our lifeline,” said Abbie Boyer, junior discipleship assistant at Third Center Olson. “It’s the closest fellowship we can have with him.”

Christian environments encourage this type of scripture saturation – but what does it mean to properly engage with scripture? Often, Christians are told to pray, read their Bibles, and worship with little or no direction.

The shocking fact is that there is no right way to study the scriptures; instead, there are many methods to properly immerse yourself. To limit oneself to a singularity of application would be to misunderstand the gifts of commitment that God has provided.

Phil Collins, director of the Department of Biblical Studies, Christian Ministries, and Philosophy as well as executive director of the Taylor Center for Scripture Engagement, has been involved in educating students on these related issues.

“We don’t want to kind of read the passage and kind of make up the meaning,” Collins said. “We try to discover the meaning that is already there. As we discover this meaning, we must make it our own in our lives. We do this through meditation and reflection, obedience, prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit. So that’s what we call commitment to the scriptures – study, then commit, study, commit.

There are plenty of opportunities to pray, sing, meditate, and memorize scripture. It is a tool to fortify oneself with the truth to fight against lies and corruption.

Yet this cannot go without acknowledging that Scripture is written for us and not just for us.

Denise Flanders, assistant professor of biblical studies, emphasized the importance of this cultural understanding.

“It was written for you – for your growth, your edification, your learning, your instruction, and your connection to God,” Flanders said. “But, it was written for the ancient Israelites who lived, you know, though many hundreds of years before Jesus was born.”

When we approach the Bible, we must also be prepared to encounter a different cultural context for these writings.

The past must be contextualized before it can be interpreted in today’s time. Ignorance of this can lead to one’s situation being applied in God’s Word rather than allowing God’s Word to be applied.

Eric Turner, director of Hannibal-LaGrange University’s Arts and Humanities Division and associate professor of New Testament and Greek, said the Bible is not just a road map. It is a story with a complex narrative.

“The Bible grounds us in the reality of who we are,” Turner said. “But it also grounds us more, I think, [in] the reality of who God is and his purposes, and his program for creation, and his reason for doing the things he still does today.

When one limits one’s view of God’s Word to an instruction manual, it can inhibit the way it is read. If readers open this lens, however, an unlimited wealth of wisdom and understanding is released.

It has to be said: many Christians are intimidated by these reading lenses – but that shouldn’t be the case at all. Instead, acknowledging good direction can help readers have a richer experience of God’s Word.

“I think there’s a lot of strength in being willing to make mistakes and being willing to grow,” said junior Elise Boutell, Third South English Disciple’s Assistant.

Context determines meaning, and understanding the context, genre, linguistics, and other components of the Word can strengthen the source of truth.

It is important to nurture our relationship with God, and His Word is a primary means of doing so. It tells us where our meaning in life lies and has meaning beyond its physical form.

Kevin Diller, professor of philosophy and religion, said God’s Word is more than ink on paper – it is a reflection of Christ’s coming to Earth, so it is alive.

“There’s an Incarnation analogy here,” Diller said. “Just as God was in Christ, fully human, – and his full humanity really, really counted for his work and his revelation – so the Word itself, the written Word, comes to us in the flesh and skin of the text. .”

The Word of God is an important source for understanding him, his love and our own identity. This is why it is fundamental to see it in this way and to know how to understand it well.

Yet, Christians must be careful not to burden themselves and view these guidelines as “limitations.” God works unlimitedly, and each person comes to the Word with their own experiences.

“There’s, like, really no perfect path or, like, one size fits all,” said junior Delaney White, a major in Christian ministries. “I think every person is going to connect with God differently.”

God’s purpose for us, his identity and much more can be seen in the scriptures he has given us. If we learn to immerse ourselves instead of limit ourselves, we can open our hearts to a whole new vision that refreshes the soul.


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