Approaching Scripture

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There are many ways of approaching Scripture. We may have to free ourselves from the ideas we were brought up with, to allow God to meet us in Scripture in a different way.

The other key word here is “imaginative”. We are often happy to bring God our mind and our sight, but imagination seems to be about ‘making things up’. Just like every other aspect of ourselves, our imagination can be offered to God and He can work though it.

Imaginative Scripture reading is about entering into a story to allow God to meet us there. The best way to explain it is to give an example.

The calling of Nathanael John ch1 vv43-51 For the purpose of this story you are going to put yourself in the place of Nathanael. Begin by reading the passage through a couple of times, so you have the picture in your mind, then go through the passage in detail, slowly, with yourself in the place of Nathanael:

43 Take time to enter the story, the location is vague, where would you have Jesus be? In your home country, in countryside or town, field or road?

44-45 Philip is someone who has met Jesus and now comes to share Jesus with Nathanael. Who might play/have played the role of Philip in your life?

46 Is your reaction to the news of Jesus to doubt? Healthy scepticism or a cynicism you need to overcome?

47 Yet you go to Jesus and He sees you coming. Where are you? Imagine it for yourself. In a country lane, in a busy street or a quiet, deserted place? Is it indoors or outdoors? Choose a place, and imagine it, with Jesus there, waiting for you. What can you see? What can you hear? What does the place smell like? Imagine the feel of the ground under your feet as you walk towards Jesus.  Hold on to this moment, how does He look at you? What is in His eyes? Then He speaks; how would Jesus describe you? Listen carefully to Him rather than yourself, it might surprise you!

48 Dialogue between you and Jesus, what questions would you like to ask Him – this is a safe place to do it. What answer does He give?

49 From what Jesus has said, Nathanael recognises who Jesus is. What are you learning about Jesus from this encounter?

50-51 Jesus does not leave things there, He goes on to talk of ‘greater things’ and promises them to Nathanael. What greater things might Jesus be leading you towards, promising to you?

For an example from Mark (the woman with the haemorrhage) and more teaching about this see https://blog.bible/bible-engagers-blog/entry/ignatian-contemplation-how-to-read-the-bible-with-your-imagination

For an example on utube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTyoBg6aO9I

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