Guest / Limited Access /

Marilyn Chandler McEntyre's many books show a concern for fostering careful habits of reading and writing among Christians. In her new title, What's in a Phrase? Pausing Where Scripture Gives You Pause (Eerdmans), McEntyre, professor of English at Westmont College, offers brief meditations on biblical phrases that, for one reason or another, have stopped her short and occasioned further reflection. Laura Turner, a Her.meneutics contributor, spoke with McEntyre about the value of dwelling on passages of Scripture that grab our attention.

How should we react when a Scripture passage gives us pause?

For me, it is rooted in lectio divina, the practice that Benedict taught his monks in the fifth century. It's slow reading of very short passages of Scripture, listening for the word or phrase that addresses you. You're listening for something that invites the Spirit to open doors of association, memory, and feeling.

Say you encounter a phrase like "is my shepherd." On the second reading you might ask, "What is this about? Where I am being summoned? Why did this touch me in some way?" Then you could give those thoughts some silence. On the third reading, you can open up further and ask what the invitation might be, and how this might be giving you specific direction.

You talk about memories that arise while pondering a phrase in Scripture. Is there power in reexamining them?

Allowing a phrase to work as a trigger can create little moments of summoning. Those moments say, "Just walk through this door and see what comes up."

We all have a repository of memories that we can unearth and put to new purposes as life continues. Flannery O'Connor said that if you've lived ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueReply All
Subscriber Access Only Reply All
Readers respond to the March issue via letters, tweets, and blogs.
RecommendedLamentations: A Bottle for the Tears of the World
Lamentations: A Bottle for the Tears of the World
Christopher J. H. Wright explains what one of the Bible's most neglected books teaches about our cries of grief.
TrendingDied: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Died: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Jerry B. Jenkins: 'Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul.'
Editor's PickPorn Is More Criticized and More Popular Than Ever
Porn Is More Criticized and More Popular Than Ever
There are so many problems with porn; it’s hard to pick just one.
%%var.bookTitle%%
What's in a Phrase?: Pausing Where Scripture Gives You Pause
Eerdmans
2014-04-20
127 pp., $10.64
Buy %%var.bookTitle%% from Amazon
Christianity Today
Letting Scripture Interrupt You
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.