“The Author of the Bible is always present with his Book. This is not true of any other book in the world. Most authors are dead; and we sometimes regret that we cannot speak to them. But this Author for ever lives, and is for ever present; and, therefore, while we read his written word it is as natural as life sometimes to speak to him on certain subjects as they occur. “Truly, then, our communion is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
–Alexander Campbell, Millennial Harbinger Vol. III no. 1, 1839
This is from Alexander Campbell, one of the founders of the Stone-Campbell Movement as he writes on Reading Scripture. I think he taps into something that we overlook far too often when we read scripture–that God is ALWAYS there when we read scripture. In my Spiritual Disciplines class (and many times in church as well), it seems that at time when we open the text, there is the pall that overcomes the class and a sense of apathy that overcomes us. Many times when we read scripture we approach it as a chore, boring, or irrelevant. I also believe that our access to scripture through multiple Bibles, translations, formats, gives us a familiarity with the Bible that lessens our view of it and, as a result, we take it for granted.
We make it work FOR us–instead of letting it work IN us.
I love how Campbell reminds us about WHY scripture is special in that the Author (God) is ALWAYS present in its reading. Every time we open the Word, God IS there.
- What if we possessed a perspective that WHEN we read scripture that God IS present?
- How might that change our perspective on Scripture?
- What kind of REVERENCE might we bring to the text?
- How might God’s Holy Presence CHANGE us?
- What kind of challenges might our souls be confronted with?
- How REFRESHING might our scripture reading become?
- How much BIGGER might God become with a perspective like this?