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Do You Agree With Scripture?

3 August 2007

It’s tempting to say: yes, of course I agree with Scripture. After all, we don’t want to sound like garden-variety heretics, do we?

Not so fast.

The better question might be: Does Scripture agree with you?

Stay with me on this one.

Considering the ancient practice of lectio divina, it suddenly came to me that if I agree with Scripture, and if Scripture is the word of God, then in a way I’m saying that Scripture has nothing left to say to me. There is little room left for me to be changed by Scripture if I already agree with it.

And there is this other, perhaps more pressing danger: if I agree with Scripture, is it because I have imposed my assumptions and pet convictions on it, reading my own preferences and idiosyncracies into the text? Is what is on the page merely a reflection of who I am and what I have become?

So the half-brother of Jesus says to us:

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25, NASB)

Exegetically, maybe this is not the purest context for understanding that passage in James, but it does cause me to think: when I look at the perfect law, the law of liberty, do I abide by it because I already agree with it? And if so, precisely what is it that I’m abiding by – the perfect law of liberty, or qb’s law of “getting by to get by,” of “what seems right to a man?” Or when I look at the perfect law of liberty, do I see a demanding Christ? or do I see my own, natural face, which invariably enslaves me to my own passions and desires?

Better, perhaps, to ask if Scripture would agree with me. Better, perhaps, to admit the possibility that I’m the center of my own understanding, and then invite God through Scripture to pass judgment on what I believe. It just seems more honest, more transparent; and maybe it yields some room for Scripture to have its way with me…

…rather than vice-versa.


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