By Minister Judy Stack
As a Bible scholar, one of the things I spent a lot of time thinking about and studying is how we tend to read and use the Bible and what ways of reading (and quoting) are faithful both to the kind of book the Bible is and faithful to the God we believe in.
A friend of mine, Emily, who is also a Bible scholar, posted this (here) about the Bible and suffering. How does the Bible serve as a spiritual resource and way for God's Spirit to comfort and encourage us when we face pain, difficulty, grief, loss, or fear? As she says,
"Pretty verses ripped from their context to be cross stitched and hung on walls or emblazoned across serene pictures to share on social media do not have the strength to carry one through the hard times....we must be careful to realize that the power is not in the words themselves because they are not some spell to be cast or ward to keep the demons at bay. They are powerful because of the One who spoke them."
Amen! While individual verses may have the power to remind of us great truths of scripture, it is the depth of the full story and richness of the larger text that will sustain our souls, like a meal sustains us better than a mini candy bar.
I hope you will be blessed by her reflection here and encouraged to drink deeply at the well of scripture!
It happened again. Someone I know was facing a problem, people threw Bible verses at her, promised to pray, and then sat back and waited to hear a good report.