I’ve found that for some it is far too easy to simply handle the Bible as scientists handle radioactive material.
Scripture gets examined like it's behind glass and you need to be covered in sterile clothing with gloves to approach it. The Word gets treated as something solely to be studied and examined for its contents and data to be reported, rather than something to be encountered which actually reads you better than you read it.
THINKING THE CHARACTERS' THOUGHTS
This doesn’t mean that we hijack faithful biblical interpretation or exegesis. Authors, locations, genres, audiences and so on are critical! Historian R.G. Collingwood said it right: “Any worthwhile history must involve thinking the characters' thoughts after them.” Thus, running off in any direction desired by the reader is just foolish and selfish. Reading like that betrays a basic respect for the Author and authors of the Bible.
The Bible contains the very words of God.
I believe the prophet Isaiah offers us more than a clue to encountering the living God. He provides the exact prescription, “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word" (Isaiah 66:2).
MOVED WITH AWE
This means literally to shake or quake and be moved with awe before God’s Word. What was the last experience that caused you to tremble? Standing before Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon? Staring out into the sea or up into the cosmos? Seeing your baby born? Visiting a cathedral? Attending a funeral?
What if that experience of trembling was to actually precede our interpretation and exegesis of the Word? We simply need to recognize what we are reading matters. The Bible contains the very words of God.
YAWNING OR TREMBLING?
I find that my walk with God is most stagnate when I’m no longer trembling before God’s Word, but rather yawning as I stare at the words on the pages because I’ve grown self-absorbed, bored with God as I’m too familiar with him and focused on “my kingdom come” instead of “Thy Kingdom come.”
The Bible is like a lion.
When was the last time you trembled at the Word of God? If you’ll notice, Isaiah doesn’t say, “This is the one to whom I will look..."
- “the one who has a PhD in Theology.”
- “the one who has perfect church attendance.”
- “the one who has all their t’s crossed and i’s dotted.”
- “the one who has the most followers on Twitter.”
God looks for the trembling, the humble, the broken, and the one who shudders before the Creator’s Word. This isn’t trying to scare you out of Bible study. This is simply giving the Bible it’s proper place. The Bible is like a lion; if you really know what you’re looking at, you, by nature, will tremble because of its power.
“At these words Peter trembled, Plato did not; so let the fisherman keep what the great and famous philosopher ignored!” (Augustine Sermon 68.7).