All word and no spirit, we dry up; all Spirit and no Word, we blow up; both Word and Spirit, we grow up.

David Watson, I Believe in the Church

The highest proof of Scripture derives in general from the fact that God in person speaks in it.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

The nature of water is soft, that of stone is hard; but if a bottle is hung above the stone, allowing the water to fall drop by drop, it wears away the stone. So it is with the Word of God; it is soft and our heart is hard, but the man who hears the Word of God often, opens his heart to the fear of God.

Abba Poemen, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

The narratives of Scripture were not meant to describe our world. … but to change the world, including the one in which we now live.

Stanley Hauerwas, A Community of Character

Because we live so close to the biblical text, we often fail to note its power to summon and evoke new life. The Bible is our firm guarantee that prophetic construals of another world are still possible, still worth doing, still longingly received by those living at the edge of despair, resignation, and conformity.

Walter Brueggemann, Finally Comes the Poet

Apply yourself totally to the text; apply the text totally to yourself.

Johann Albrecht Bengel, Pietists: Selected Writings

If God speaks, he must use words to do so. Words express thoughts, commands, descriptions, and the like. The problem is that words and sentences. … must be interpreted if they are to be understood. It is far more than a matter of translation, for while translation gets at what God says, we are still left with the question of what God means.

R.C. Sproul, Christianity Today

We think about Scripture because we wish to become "Scripture-shaped"—and, therefore, "Christ-shaped." In response to Scripture's compelling power, we wish to become living commentaries on Scripture. We wish to exhibit the reality of the risen Christ in our own lives.

John P. Burgess, Why Scripture Matters

If the people are not themselves seeking to determine the Word of God in the tangle of their individual and shared lives, how can they discern the accuracy and adequacy of the theologian's interpretation of that Word for the group? The church as a group, as a gathering of believers, must test the Spirit's movement. … If only one is interpreting, then the process fails. In such an atmosphere, both false prophecy and demagoguery flourish.

Luke Timothy Johnson, Scripture and Discernment

The true use of interpretation is to get rid of interpretation, and leave us alone in company with the author.

Benjamin Jowett, Essays and Reviews

Related Elsewhere:

Other Christianity Today articles from the Annual Bible Issue include:

Word Power | A little knowledge of New Testament Greek can be a dangerous, or edifying, thing. (Oct. 23, 2001)

The Reluctant Romans | At Douai in Flanders, Catholic scholars translated the Bible into English as an alternative to the Bible of "the heretics." (Oct. 22, 2001)

A Translation Fit For a King | In the beginning, the King James Version was an attempt to thwart liberty. In the end, it promoted liberty. (Oct. 22, 2001)

We Really Do Need Another Bible Translation | As good as many modern versions are, they often do not allow us to hear what the Holy Spirit actually said. (Oct. 19, 2001)

The American Bible Society has a wealth of information about the Bible and translation of the Bible.

The Bible Learning Center has a Bible Reading 101 section, tools for learning and teaching, and research resources.

The Bible Gateway allows visitors to read specific verses in various translations and languages.

See more related articles in Christianity Today'sBible section.

Past Reflections columns include:

Leadership (October 11, 2001)

Suffering (September 13, 2001)

Change (August 14, 2001)

Living Tradition (July 18, 2001)

Sacred Spaces (June 11, 2001)

Friendship (May 17, 2001)

The Cross (Apr. 12, 2001)

The Quotable Stott (Apr. 27, 2001)

Overcoming Addiction (Mar. 12, 2001)

African-American Voices (Feb. 1, 2001)

Forgiveness (Jan. 25, 2001)

Incarnation (Dec. 4, 2000)

Listening (Nov. 30, 2000)

Death and Eternity (Oct. 24, 2000)

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

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