Devote Yourself to the study of Scripture

St. Paul in his letter to his spiritual child, Timothy, exhorted him to devote himself to the study of Scripture  (1 Timothy 4:13).   Christian scholar Eugene Peterson offers some thoughts on studying Scripture:

Spiritual theology, using Scripture as text, does not present us with a moral code and tell us “live up to this”; nor does it set out a system of doctrine and say, “Think like this and you will live well.” The biblical way is to tell a story and in the telling invite:  “Live into this—this is what it looks like to be human in this God-made and God-ruled world; this is what is involved in becoming and maturing as a human being.”

 We are fond of saying that the Bible has all the answers. […] But the Bible also has all the questions, many of them that we would just as soon were never asked of us, and some of which we will spend the rest of our lives doing our best to dodge.

 We enter into this text to meet God as he reveals himself, not to look for truth or history or morals that we can use for ourselves.

 We talk of “making the Bible relevant to the world, “ as if the world is the fundamental reality and the Bible something that is going to help it or fix it.  We talk of “fitting the Bible into our lives” or “making room in our day for the Bible,” as if the Bible is something that we can add on to or squeeze into our already full lives.

What we must never be encouraged to do, although all of us are guilty of it over and over, is to force Scripture to fit our experience.  Our experience is too small; it’s like trying to put the ocean into a thimble.  What we want is to fit into the world revealed by Scripture, to swim in this vast ocean. (Peterson, Eugene H Eat This Book, pgs 43-44, 66-68)