While driving to and from Houston this weekend, I listened to Eugene Peterson’s lecture on the Christian use of Scripture, “Eat this Book.” Peterson argues for a recovery of the sovereignty of God in our approach to scripture, rejecting the contemporary sovereignty of self. Just as true God has revealed himself as Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the current view sees the soveriegn self as the trinity of our desires, needs and feelings. As long as scripture must conform to this less-than-holy trinity, we will inevitably fail to read it aright.
Petersone also spends a great deal of time emphasizing that “eating” scripture is something best done in the company of other believers and in the context of obedience. Our initial encounter with scripture is often positve (“sweet in the mouth”), as we sense our needs met and our questions answered. After time, especially if we are reading aright, we will likely discover that we don’t like scripture as much (“bitter in the stomach”) as it challenges and provokes us. By reading with others in a context of obedience, we gain the stamina to stick with it.
If you’re looking for a nuanced evangelical approach to scripture, this is an excellent series to consider.