Thus when we read Scripture, we’re not simply to ask, “Does this make sense to me?” or “How can I use this to make my life less miserable?” but rather we are to ask in Wesleyan fashion, “How would I have to be changed in order to make this Scripture work?” Every text is a potential invitation to conversion, transformation, and growth in grace. And, as we have noted earlier, we Wesleyans love to get born again, and again. Scripture is God’s appointed and most frequently used means for getting to us and getting at us and thereby changing us in the encounter.
William Willimon (always worth reading) has written a short article on reading the Bible, called ‘On Wesleyan Commitment’. Of course, ‘Wesleyan’ refers to John Wesley, and the Methodist Church came out of the revival that began through his work. The Methodist Church was one of the three churches the Uniting Church was born out of, so ‘Wesleyan’ reflections should be of great interest to us.
Here are some great bites out of the article; click here, and read them in context!
…one of the most radical, truly countercultural acts that we perform in Sunday worship is when we gather and then open an ancient book— written in languages quite unlike our own, in cultures very different from ours—and we become silent, and we listen to the word read and proclaimed and thereby we say to ourselves, “These ancient Jews know more than we”.
The Bible intends to be more for us than just a book of rules, a repository of helpful principles for better living. Attempts to use the Bible like that are bound to be frustrated by the nature of the Bible’s way with the truth. Scripture is an attempt to construct a new world, to stoke, fund and fuel our imaginations. The Bible is an ongoing debate about what is real and who is in charge and where we’re all headed. So the person who emerged from church one Sunday (after one of my most biblical sermons, too!), muttering, “That’s the trouble with you preachers. You just never speak to anything that relates to my world,” makes a good point.
To which the Bible replies, “How on earth did you get the idea that I want to speak to your world? I want to rock, remake, deconstruct and rework your world!”