Advent with A Kempis V

Chapter 5: Reading the Holy Scriptures

“All sacred Scripture should be read in the spirit with which it was written.”

I heard Karen Armstrong call theology a “species of poetry.” In sacred Scripture, we encounter this species of poetry, which does not intend to inform us of scientific and historical facts as much as it intends to transform our hearts and our lives.

This morning, I read in The Little Blue Book[1] that “reading Scripture is not simply information. It is formation—God is shaping our thoughts and feelings through these words.”

Debates about inerrancy and infallibility seem to miss the point about the intention of Scripture. The stories in the Bible are myths in the most profound sense of the word; myths that communicate truths that are deeper and truer than facts. These are the truths that Kempis calls “pure truth.”

Our modernistic methods have their place, but Kempis warns that they can prove “a hindrance to us, for while reading Scripture we sometimes want to stop to debate and discuss, when we should simply read on.”

Hearing and reading Scripture is like listening to music or watching a sunset or encountering a deer in the forest: “Listen in silence to the words of the saints, and do not let the riddles of the ancients baffle you. They were written down for a definite purpose.”


[1] A Catholic Devotional Book for the Advent and Christmas Season

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