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A Living Book? - Printable Version

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A Living Book? - leo the lamb - 06-07-2018

I'd like to hear y'alls's (believers and former believers) thoughts on the idea that the Bible is a living book. What does that mean to you? The other day my brother remarked that the more he reads the Bible, the more he finds there. He didn't get specific, but I reckon most Bible readers would say something similar. Of course, it's a big book/collection of books, so it's no surprise that people discover new details and ideas with every reading. But is it any different than with a beloved novel or favorite movie, where one notices things they didn't before with every reading or viewing?

The believer part of my psyche would suggest that the Bible as the word of God remains unchanged through the centuries, but human perception changes and evolves, and believers receive truth as they are allowed on God's time and for his designs. I would even have no problem believing that the text could change (in a Fringe-y reality-slip sense) without even the smallest truths being affected.

What started this thread was a dream I had last night that I'd forgotten until the memory was reignited during a safety meeting at work when the safety trainer called the company's official emergency action plan text a 'living document'. It was a really cool dream in which I was reading some part of the Bible and getting genuinely excited at the newness of the wording. I couldn't tell you which passages I was reading or even if any of it could make sense outside the dream realm, but I was reading something I'd read before and the language was refreshingly different. Probably the dream was inspired by the brief conversation with my brother and an idea I've entertained about word meanings changing over time to jibe with what has long been printed as God's word.


RE: A Living Book? - myotch - 06-08-2018

There could be something to that.

Word meanings change in nuanced concepts over time. An important concept like “love” or “forgiveness” might go through differing focuses, different trends through time. And these trends might see a refreshing quality in one’s scripture reading.

To love God, neighbor, and self might mean something different in the 1800’s pioneer west than it would to the pop-psychology age of Oprah. These are big concepts.

What of the smaller concepts, the ones that do enrich understanding but don’t get big play. How different can we understand each proverb in just the different stages of our individual lives and experiences?

There is a lot to unpack in Scripture. Just an immense amount of info. Something you find irrelevant today may be crucial, a “life verse” tomorrow, conceivably.


RE: A Living Book? - leo the lamb - 06-09-2018

Thinking of how much my worldview, perceptions of reality, moral inclinations and inhibitions, willingness to ask questions.. have evolved over the last few years, I'm pretty sure I would read parts of the bible, maybe the bible as a whole, in fresh ways (that's if I could scrub my brain clean of old scratches and stains from my brainwashin' days). I'm just not sure the bible is any more alive than another thought-provoking or inspiring book. Is it something more than my own brain that makes it living?


RE: A Living Book? - myotch - 06-09-2018

Maybe it’s living because of the importance you give it.

Maybe it was designed that way.

And maybe it’s a wise book that grows more profound as you gain more wisdom. And maybe it was designed that way, too.

There’s a lot going on, there. It’s a collection of many types of books, many writers, many focuses, many disciplines...a few different philosophies and approaches...different relationships between God and man. It goes over the most common experiences of life; it feels both ancient and applicable in the modern and present.


RE: A Living Book? - WalrusWrangler - 06-13-2018

(06-09-2018, 05:04 AM)myotch Wrote: Maybe it’s living because of the importance you give it.  

Maybe it was designed that way.

And maybe it’s a wise book that grows more profound as you gain more wisdom.  And maybe it was designed that way, too.

There’s a lot going on, there.  It’s a collection of many types of books, many writers, many focuses, many disciplines...a few different philosophies and approaches...different relationships between God and man.  It goes over the most common experiences of life;  it feels both ancient and applicable in the modern and present.

That's a good summary of my view of it. As I go through different stages of life and gain new experiences, different things come alive more to me. They have greater meaning and application to my life. Additionally, the Bible is so rich, dense, and diverse in its content that I'll likely never reach a point where I grok it all.

Only recently (in the last four years since I left fundamentalism) have I dived in deeply and tried to understand a single book in a comprehensive sense. I've done studies of Romans, Ephesians, Ecclesiastes, and Habbakkuk in that time. Even devoting a good deal of time to each book, I don't think I've exhausted the riches of their content. I expect in a few years I'll pick up study of one of them again, and I'll see things I never noticed the first time through. Part of this is human limitation. I believe the Holy Spirit has something to do with it, too.

Most books do not have the same structure, style, content, etc. as the Bible. I reread the Lord of the Rings, my favorite novel, a couple of years ago. Parts of it were fresh and new, even though I had read it before. It wasn't the same as with the Bible, though. Part of it is due to the Bible's design, but again, I believe the Holy Spirit is involved as well.