Now, nearing the end, Drane reminds his readers that the word is alive. It can be hard slogging through the Bible if your heart is closed to the life within. Reading a text about the Bible might prove even worse, if you cared not for the material. But...the author came through. The Bible is more than the sum of its parts - it is God's word, and it is authoritative in the lives of Christians. The word today does tie the modern Church to our earliest Christian brothers and sisters. Wonderfully, the word not only informs Christians from God's perspective, but the Bible itself is a part of our world-view.
"World-view." I think that's what others might call "baggage." Drane might be one of the first commentators I've run across who admits we bring all that stuff to our reading and interpretation of Scripture. Calling the process of not trying to divorce ourselves from our understanding of the word, Drane says we enter into a "dynamic" and "holistic" process. (460) Instead of attempting to objectify the Scripture, Dranes says we can enter into a two-way relationship with in which we apply our setting to its context, and it informs our situation back. WOW! That's communication - God communicates to us through His word.
The sooner we begin to understand what it is we (as we engage Scripture) bring with us, the better off we'll be in the conversation. How can we lay aside our entire life's social context, or the human conditions of our birth? Who do we think we truly are if we feel we are able to dismiss the struggles and successes we experience on a daily basis? And just what makes me think that I can instantly think differently about a Scriptural matter than the way I've always been taught? I think, especially for that last one, it would be great to come to the Scriptures with no training - just an assurance that what you'll read is God's word. I wonder what would come out the other side of that experiment!!
We are a people of the book! We know it to be God's word given to humanity through the minds, hearts, dreams, memories, and hopes of various men throughout the ages. If we're serious of getting the most out of Scripture, we need to be serious about getting into Scripture. We need to acknowledge our own human traits that we bring as we come to the word. And we dare not forget the human traits the writers each brought as they delivered it. Each of us is called to do the best for God in the ways that He has equipped us - and that includes sharing the Gospel (and the rest of the Scripture).
Let's dig in - let's try to hear the voice of God through the pages of the Bible. There are many sources, and somewhere along the way we have to trust the expertise of those "who know." When I look at the words, are they the ones God gave to the original authors? And when we've got that all worked out, we really should want to know "why?" What was going on in the world at that time that God spoke out in that way? On a personal level, I want to know - what has God have for me in His word, given just where I am at in my walk? And across all the ages, how does God's word speak into our own times and cultures today?
You know, looking in the mirror and introducing you to yourself can be a scary prospect. How much more terrifying can it be to think to meet God? But Drane is right - it's really only when we start getting comfortable with ourselves and how we fit into the world around us, that we are prepared to get in to understanding the heart of God through His word.