Friday, May 12, 2006

Listening to the Word of God

As some of you know, I am presently engaged in doctoral studies, focusing on what the book of Psalms teaches about suffering for righteousness. As a result, I am immersing myself in the Psalms as I attempt to get an understanding and a "feel" for the emotions and thoughts expressed these poetic books. One of the key ways that I have been doing that is by listening to the Psalms on my mp3 player. Listening to the Psalms is quite different from reading them. I am finding that I am grasping the development of thought in each psalm better; its rhythms, repetitions, and underlying themes that are not always so apparent when reading the inspired words. This is not to downplay reading, but it seems to me that the biblical texts (especially the Psalms) were often meant to be listened to in the context of the faith community rather than primarily read in individual privacy, as we tend to do. The declining popularity of scripture reading in our weekly worship services, I think, has only contributed to this.

I recommend that you try listening to the Word of God, especially such texts as the Psalms and Revelation. You may find it a rather useful change from our standard practice. And you may actually find that it contributes to your understanding of God and His revelation.

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