A Study of the Christian Practice of Reading Scripture
Reading Scripture is a spiritual practice at the very heart of the Christian faith. But how is it possible to encounter God in reading the words of the Bible? Does reading the Christian Bible require a different approach from how one may read other texts or writings? What is required of the spiritual reader to read well?
Seeking to answer such questions, Angela Lou Harvey provides a theological exploration of the idea of “spiritual reading” in the context of the Western church today. Drawing upon insights of theologians such as Karl Barth, Henri de Lubac, and Ellen F. Davis, the author suggests that the particulars of Christian belief profoundly shape the distinctive practice of the spiritual reading of the Bible.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ A Study of the Theology of Reading Scripture Deeply
In Spiritual Reading, Harvey writes for “the contemporary western reader of Christian Scripture who seeks to know and love God in and through the practice of individual biblical reading.” This motive reveals Harvey’s view of Scripture as inspired by God and used by God to help people know and love him. The practice of spiritual reading, as the author describes it, seeks to discern and experience the activity of the Holy Spirit in and through Scripture. Harvey’s view of spiritual reading corresponds to the Christian practice of Lectio Divina that includes the elements of reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation. Through the book, she also asserts that spiritual reading leads to application for the reader first and then through him or her to others.
Harvey discusses the history of Christian reading and literary theory applied to the reading of Scripture for edification. She accesses works by C.S. Lewis and Alan Jacobs to draw on their insights regarding ways of reading literature well. The majority of Harvey’s book involves thorough interactions with the writings of Karl Barth, Henri De Lubac and Ellen Davis. For all three theologians, Harvey devotes a chapter to the highlights of their approaches to scripture and spiritual reading. The author demonstrates significant knowledge of the works of these theologians and attempts to show how their insights can apply to Christians today. Harvey also includes a chapter on examples from Davis’ writing of how she demonstrates spiritual reading.
While this book may be accessible and helpful to any Christian readers, Harvey writes on an academic and scholarly level.