How a word becomes a Word of God?

End-of-year thoughts about the power of God’s Word
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1. In how many ways the words of the Bible can be interpreted? Hermeneutics that examines the interpretations of a text is a quite diverse field of science. All of us carry the imprints of our own previous experiences and interpret everything we come across in this "life experience context". All these are incredibly honorable efforts to reveal the hidden correlations of a text and the billion versions of its interpretations. However if we apply these methods only in a "sterile" way, we would miss the Essence of understanding the Bible. Only our minds have been working, not our hearts. We have not become shaken. Jesus has been missed from the text – thus the conversation with God has also been missed. (For further details, please read my last essay before the summer break here.)

 

2. What helps to recognize the Word of God? We take the Bible either literally or seriously. I prefer old texts because these provide us much more to think about due to their "incomprehensibility" than today’s "ready-made" translations giving obvious interpretations. If we read the Biblical texts in their original languages, in Hebrew and in ancient Greek, we may realize that all these antique languages offer a wide range of possible interpretations. All this pulls us out of that interpretation frame which sticks our understanding to our own "life experience contexts". If we do not read or listen to the Word being open to the surprisingly new Vision of God then our souls remain closed for the truth. (For further details, please read my last essay before the summer break here.)

 

3. How a word becomes a Word of God? If we would like to accept the lines of the Bible not as a text but as a Word of God then we have to get ourselves out of our comfort zones. Most of the time God does not want to take us where we are just going. A word becomes a Word of God only if we are not alone when we accept it. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit and the presence and mercy of Jesus we do not get to recognize the will of the Father during reading the Bible. The act of studying the Bible in a community becomes important here. Preaching is not simply another one of the many interpretations, because the Word of God is not proclaimed by the minister but by the Holy Spirit through the minister. Preaching, songs and prayers of the sermon are the Silence of the Spirit in which the Word of God is revealed. "The Word will do what it states" (Péter Grendorf, my minister has recently said). Yes, the Word will be still working days and years after it was said. This is how the working of the Holy Spirit forms the image of Christ in us and shows us the Kingdom of God already in our lives on earth. (For further details, please read my last essay before the summer break here.)

 

 


 

Introduction. As I wrote in my first essay in September, I will go along a whole course of a spiritual retreat with my essays until summer. With the Christmas post we have arrived at the end of the first week of the four weeks’ long spiritual retreat: Christ may have been born within us, we may have been given places in the House of God and we may have realized that we were the Children of God. My four essays covering the second week of the spiritual retreat confronted us with our sins. Both our community sins and our own personal sins have been examined, we have thought about the conditions of our good choices, and we have answered the question what is the most important decision of our whole lives. Until the coming summer we will go along the second two weeks of the four weeks’ long spiritual retreat: praying throughout the whole earth life of Christ, our Lord.

 


 

1. In how many ways the words of the Bible can be interpreted?

 

"Take Christ out of the Scriptures,
and what will you find remaining in them?"

(Martin Luther: De servo arbitrio)

 

The educated Reader probably has been horrified reading the title: hermeneutics that examines the interpretations of a text is a quite diverse field of science. A text can be analyzed according to its concrete wording, the historic background, the sources, the editing, the canons, the literalism, the rhetoric, the cultural anthropology, the depth of psychology, the story of its impact, the story of its interpretation and according to a thousand more other viewpoints. However the rich variety of interpretations has not been ended here by far... Following the research of the past centuries it has been revealed that we all interpret a certain text from different points of views. All of us carry the imprints of our own previous experiences and interpret everything we come across in this "life experience context". These billions of interpretations can certainly be categorized. There can be e.g. “liberation theology-” or “gender-specific” interpretations – and a million others, too... All these are incredibly honorable efforts to reveal the hidden correlations of a text and the billion versions of its interpretations. However if we apply these methods only in a "sterile" way, we would miss the Essence of understanding the Bible. Only our minds have been working, not our hearts. We have not become shaken. Jesus has been missed from the text – thus the conversation with God has also been missed.

 


 

2. What helps to recognize the Word of God?

 

"It is Truth which we must look for in Holy Writ, not cunning of words.
All Scripture ought to be read in the spirit in which it was written."

(Thomas a Kempis: Imitation of Christ)

 

A lot of Christian philosophers have phrased that we take the Bible either literally or seriously. I prefer old texts (like e.g. Gáspár Karoli’s Hungarian translation from 1590, or the English translations from 1582/1609) because these provide us much more to think about due to their "incomprehensibility" than today’s "ready-made" translations giving obvious interpretations. If we read the Biblical texts in their original languages, in Hebrew and in ancient Greek, we may realize that all these antique languages offer a wide range of possible interpretations. All this pulls us out of that interpretation frame which sticks our understanding to our own "life experience contexts". If we do not read or listen to the Word being open to the surprisingly new Vision of God then our souls remain closed for the truth.

 


 

3. How a word becomes a Word of God?

 

Jesus says: "The words that I have spoken
to you, are spirit and life."
(John 6:63)

 

Let me start the concluding ideas where I stopped at the Section. If we would like to accept the lines of the Bible not as a text but as a Word of God then we have to get ourselves out of our comfort zones. Most of the time God does not want to take us where we are just going. And what a big luck this is! Because where we ourselves are going mostly leads us to a very bad end. Compared to God, we all are tiny, blind and stupid. How could we find the right way on our own? The one who wants to find only himself in the Bible, why is he reading it? He knows it very well himself without the Scripture... A word becomes a Word of God only if we are not alone when we accept it. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit and the presence and mercy of Jesus we do not get to recognize the will of the Father during reading the Bible. The act of studying the Bible in a community becomes important here. Preaching is not simply another one of the many interpretations, because the Word of God is not proclaimed by the minister but by the Holy Spirit through the minister. During the preaching and the Bible lessons the Word of the God is interpreted in the community of believers – even if they do not discuss it but remain silent. Preaching, songs and prayers of the sermon are the Silence of the Spirit in which the Word of God is revealed. "The Word will do what it states" (Péter Grendorf, my minister has recently said). Yes, the Word will be still working days and years after it was said. This is how the working of the Holy Spirit forms the image of Christ in us and shows us the Kingdom of God already in our lives on earth.

 

Let’s take a foretaste of the power of the Word of God that moves all things!
Let’s read a few Psalm-lines below.
I wish all Readers a happy summer rich in Words and spiritual nourishment!

  • Mercy and judgment I will sing to thee, O Lord (100:1)
  • I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify thy name for ever. (85:12)
  • Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord: they shall praise thee for ever and ever. (83:5)
  • And thou, O Lord, art a God of compassion, and merciful, patient, and of much mercy, and true. (85:15)
  • Thy arm is with might. Let thy hand be strengthened, and thy right hand exalted. (88:14)
  • The law of the Lord is unspotted, converting souls (18:8)
  • For the word of the Lord is right, and all his works are done with faithfulness. (32:4)
  • I meditated also on thy commandments, which I loved. (118:47)
  • I have seen an end of all perfection: thy commandment is exceeding broad. (118:96)
  • My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. (83:3)
  • For thy testimonies are my meditation: and thy justifications my counsel. My soul hath cleaved to the pavement: quicken thou me according to thy word. (118:24,25)
  • If I said: My foot is moved: thy mercy, O Lord, assisted me. (93:18)
  • As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our iniquities from us. (102:12)
  • O Lord, for I am thy servant: I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid. Thou hast broken my bonds: I will sacrifice to thee the sacrifice of praise, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. (115:6,7)
  • Lead me into the path of thy commandments; for this same I have desired. (119:35)
  • Thy words have I hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against thee. (118:11)
  • I will pay my vows to the Lord in the sight of all his people (116:18)
  • Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths. I have sworn and am determined to keep the judgments of thy justice. (118:105,106)
  • I will keep thy justifications: O! Do not thou utterly forsake me! (119:8)
  • All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth, to them that seek after his covenant and his testimonies. (25:10)
  • The Lord ruleth me: and I shall want nothing. For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. (22:1,4)
  • Lord, thou hast proved me, and known me (138:1) thou hast formed me, and hast laid thy hand upon me (138:5) lead me in the eternal way. (138:24b)
  • For thou wilt bless the just. O Lord, thou hast crowned us, as with a shield of thy good will. (5:13)
  • The Lord keepeth thee from all evil: may the Lord keep thy soul. May the Lord keep thy coming in and thy going out; from henceforth now and for ever. (120:7,8) Amen.

 

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