Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.
Discussion: The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight
From Chapter 2, “The Birds and I”
While there are many ways to approach how to read the Bible, McKnight offers three for us to think about. The first way is “reading to retrieve:”
Some of us have been taught to read the Bible in such as way that we return to the times of the Bible in order to retrieve biblical ideas and practice for today. There are two kinds of ‘return and retrieve’ readers – some try to retrieve all of it and some admit we can retrieve only what can be salvaged.
McKnight points out that the problem of reading the Bible in order to live out whatever the Bible teaches simply cannot be done. The principles are timely, but it is impossible to live out a first-century life in a twenty-first century world. Jesus taught to wash the feet of your visitors. We don’t need to practice that today (at least in America). Paul said women should be silent. Do they really need to be silent in our day and age? Peter said that women should not wear gold jewelry. How many women walk around wearing gold?
On the other hand, reading the Bible in order to “retrieve the essence” means that we read in such as way as culture dictates what is of value. There is more to the Christian life than allowing culture to shape what we do.
What we most need is not a return to the first of fourth or sixteenth or eighteenth century but a fresh blowing of God’s Spirit on our culture, in our day, and in our ways. We need twenty-first century Christians living out the biblical gospel in twenty-first century ways. Even more, if we read the Bible properly, we will see that God never asked one generation to step back in time and live the way it had done before. No, God spoke in each generation in that generation’s ways.
McKnight’s final conclusion regarding viewing the Bible in a “reading to retrieve” way is: “The way of returning to retrieve it all is not the biblical way. The biblical way is the ongoing adoptions of the past and adaptation to new conditions and to do this in a way that is consistent with and faithful to the Bible.”
What examples can you think of where Christians read the Bible to “retrieve information” for how we should live today? Have you had any experience with people who think this way that have told you how you should live?
Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes of his devises. He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.” His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims. He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, “God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.”
Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account?” But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.
The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.
Proverbs 11: 11
Through the blessing o the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?
Photo credit: Kathi – Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, CA