Seminary classes started, which means that my ability to write blogs will be limited in the next ten weeks. Yet, thankfully a lot of my seminary reading is actually becoming inspiration for blogs. As you may be aware, we read A LOT in seminary. At times it can be difficult and obtuse yet in others it can foster new insight and revelation. This just happened to me as I was reading a piece from Stanley Grenz book “Theology for the Community of God.”
The author was discussing Biblical inspiration, that is the idea that Bible writers were influenced by the Holy Spirit to write. That is the fundamental idea behind the authority of Scripture as it is understood by Christians as inspired by God, Himself. He then talked about illumination. That is what happens when one reads the Bible through out the ages. That is, the Holy Spirit is active not only at the inception of Scriptures but is present today as we read them. This demystifies the idea that the Bible was just a holy book that dropped from heaven but instead it is living agent from beginning to our days.
He then talks about the role of Scripture in the community of God (the church, as some of us call it). Basically, Scripture serves not just as the original document of the Christian community but as an interpretative framework through which believers see their context through time. That is, when we read the story of God’s work in the past, we start imagining in faith the possibilities for our story to change in the present. The end result is the conversion of the heart and formation of the Spirit. Through the stories of the past, our present is impacted and our future is reshaped.
I am in awe of the work of the Spirit in using an ancient book to speak life into human beings in first, tenth, seventeenth and twenty-first centuries. This timeless character is part of Biblical authority. Not only the Bible is a book inspired by God but is a book that continues to inspire God into our lives.
The Bible is one of the few books that has a track record of changing people’s live through centuries. As you read, be attentive to the work of the Spirit and what is happening at that moment. This is not a book to just read like a novel on a summer reading list but spiritual food to digest through a lifetime. It has changed my life, the life of my parents, grandparents and beyond. I pray and will do my best that it changes the life of my children and their children.
Back to some more seminary reading….