The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

Engaging with the Bible

Introduction

Christian thinkers have sometimes compared the Bible to a pair of spectacles. We look through scripture as through a set of lenses to see God, the world around us, and ourselves more clearly.

Of course, in the case of the Bible, we may also examine the lenses, seek to understand how they refract light, get to grips with the distinctive properties which make them so effective in bringing clarity where there would otherwise be obscurity - what it is that transforms the lives of their wearers.


Lest this sound too onerous a task, a number of the Psalms remind us of the benefits of engaging with the 'law of the Lord', and the God himself whose word it is.


Delight, transformation, relationship


For the poet of Psalm 1, meditating on God's law day and night is a delight not a duty. Psalm 19 moves from the heavens to the heart via the law of the Lord, describing a God who is known by his voice in creation and in his word, where the goal of his communication is transformation not information. Not more than a few verses into Psalm 119 is a direct address to the Lord, maintained to the end, where the dynamic is one of relationship rather than relevance, where the law provides the medium for the bond between the Lord and his servant, an engagement which is not about squeezing out what's seen as directly applicable to me, but attending to a person, a loved-one no less, by attending to their words.

 

Minds informed, hearts touched, lives changed


In all cases, engaging with God's word involves thinking, feeling, willing and doing. Minds are informed, hearts are touched, lives are changed. Engaging with Scripture is like participating in a culture or learning a language, which takes time, in which we immerse ourselves, so that it shapes who we are - so much so that we can't imagine our life without it. Moreover, although it's personal, it's also communal, as we take our place as the people saved by God, and then given his Torah, his 'law', his 'instruction', by which we might know him and order our lives in obedience to him.

 

Whole people, whole Bible, whole lives


This represents something of LICC's vision and hope for churches and individuals - that the whole people of God might engage with the whole word of God in a way that touches and transforms the whole of our lives, individually and together, and for the sake of the world in which we are called to live.


The resources gathered together in this part of the website, and as they continue to be added to over time, are intended to help disciples and churches of Jesus Christ in their ongoing engagement with the Bible, which will bring the delight and transformation that comes from lives shaped by engagement with God himself.


Antony Billington
Head of Faculty

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