Hearing What the Bible is Saying
One of the most significant challenges for a youth minister is keeping up with the new ways that words are used among students. This doesn’t just apply to slang, but it even extends to “normal” words that are used in different contexts by students. For example, what do you think of when you read the word “phone”? Chances are it is different from the way that a teenager today thinks of a phone. There is a whole generation of people growing up today who have never seen a landline phone!
If this is true with teenagers, then it is even more true in reading the Bible, a book that was written over various cultures a long time ago in a place far away from us. When we want to think the right things “because the Bible tells me so” we have to make sure we are actually listening to what the Bible is saying and not importing our received understanding.
But with a book that was written in three foreign languages, how can we hope to bridge that gap? We bridge it the same way we learn about how young people think and speak, by listening to them!
“…His delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2 (NASB)
Psalm 1 envisions a disciple who continually reads and re-reads Scripture in order to listen to it more clearly. “Meditate” in this verse would imagine a student of the Hebrew scriptures repeating a verse over and over in order to listen to the details of the verse and let it sink into the heart. Our first impulse in reading the Bible should be to listen rather than jump to conclusions or applications. It is a delight to let the word master us rather than the other way around!
If we aren’t reading the Bible to let it change how we think and how we act, then we aren’t letting it “tell” us anything.