Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Impact of God's Word

The Bible is a powerful expression of God's engagement with us.  It can be extremely challenging, but offers us support in so many ways.

I have been reading on through Augustine's Confessions during Lent.  At one point he writes: "How wonderful are your Scriptures!  How profound!  We see their surface and it attracts us like children.  And yet, O my God, their depth is stupendous.  We shudder to peer deep into them, for they inspire in us both the awe of reverence and the thrill of love" (Book 12, Section 14).

The Bible impacts our lives in so many different ways.  It is a source of encouragement, inspiration, challenge and so much more.  One of the great things is that it will do different things for us in different circumstances, offering that which we need for the particular moment.

Augustine recognises this - "... since I believe in these commandments and confess them to be true with all my heart, how can it harm me that it should be possible to interpret these words in several ways, all of which may yet be true?  How can it harm me if I understand the writer's meaning in a different sense from that in which another understands it?  ....  Provided, therefore, that each of us tries as best he can to understand in the Holy Scriptures what the writer meant by them, what harm is there if a reader believes what you, the Light of all truthful minds, show him to be the true meaning?  It may not even be the meaning which the writer had in mind, and yet he too saw in them a true meaning, different though it may have been from this."  (Book 12, Section 18).

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