Relationship with the Bible? Or God?

You don’t need a relationship with words on paper (the Bible); you need a relationship with the living Word in your spirit (God).

Scot McKnight makes that plain in this excellent book about looking at our Bible with fresh eyes to more clearly see the awesome God it points to.

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Excerpt from The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible

I bring it all together into one central focus now: A relational approach believes our relationship to the Bible is transformed into a relationship with the God who speaks to us in and through the Bible.

If we distinguish God from the Bible, then we also learn that in listening to God’s words in the Bible we are in search of more than a relationship with paper with words, namely, a relationship with the person who speaks on paper.

Our relationship to the Bible is actually a relationship with the God of the Bible.

We want to emphasize that we don’t ask what the Bible says, we ask what God says to us in that Bible.

The difference is a difference between paper and person.


Let me put this now one final way: God gave the Bible not so we can know it but so we can know and love God through it.

. . . We must begin an entirely new conversation that gets us beyond the right view of the Bible to one that seeks to answer this question: “What is our relationship to the God of the Bible?”

I suggest that the answer to that question, and one that comes to mind immediately for the one who reads the Bible attentively, is simple: Our relationship to the God of the Bible is to listen to God so we can love him more deeply and love others more completely.

If God’s ultimate design for us is to love God and to love others, we can only acquire that love by learning to listen to God.

Listening and loving are intimately connected.
–  Scot McKnight

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5 thoughts on “Relationship with the Bible? Or God?

  1. Beth

    I read that book years ago, Lisa and found it very interesting, but most of all challenging. He really caused me to rethink many of the things I’ve come to just accept as biblical truths, when often it is man’s spin on that truth. It’s definitely a great read! Thanks for reminding me of it today, my friend! And thanks for coming by my place and encouraging my hubby too. 🙂

  2. PL

    Hm, … sounds interesting, and “Listening and loving are intimately connected” is very good, …

    It sounds like Scot McKnight is charging people to be less literal and more literary when reading the Bible, would that be right?

    I can’t help thinking about reading novels. Often a literal reading — what is written, what happens — misses the point — like a faithful but vacuous screen adaptation. For me, reading a novel for example, is an immersion in the author’s sensibility. The words on the pages are a means to an end. Studying the novel (analysing the language, researching the author’s history) can be helpful approaches, but they can’t replace really reading it. Wouldn’t the same apply to reading the Bible — complicated perhaps because the sensibility the reader is after is not the authors’ and editors’ but the spirit that lies behind them.

    Some very chewy books.

    1. Lisa notes...

      “The words on the pages are a means to an end.” Yes, I agree with you. That’s exactly what I hear McKnight saying too.

      I’ve spent a lot of years analyzing the words of the Bible, and while that is useful (I don’t want to discount the value of study), the more important finding is discovering the Author behind the book, or as you put it “the spirit that lies behind them”, with spirit having a capital S. If we read the Bible but miss getting to know the God of the Bible, it’s been for nothing.

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