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4.26.2016

A note on meditating the Bible

[This is an email.]

On meditating the Bible this is basically what I'm doing...

I use the template of "people, places, things, events, ideas" to focus in on what I'm reading, and I basically pause to really visualize or ponder one or more of those things.

Like when Melchizedek gives bread and wine to Abraham, those are "things" and I pause and think about them. Not too crazily, but as symbols, maybe see connections with bread and wine in the New Testament, etc. Maybe just holding the imagery in my mind does a lot too. Higher visual language.

I can see that another aspect, perhaps bigger, of meditating the Bible is recalling to mind whole, contained passages and really trying to draw them to mind from memory and think about them.

But when I said it doesn't take a lot of meditating on the Bible to get something from it I mean this: I noticed quickly that a little pausing and pondering and visualizing really made me see what I was reading more clearly. Like for instance the travels of Abraham. I can trace it in my mind. If you just read over it quick things like that jumble together. But I have clear Haran to Canaan down to Egypt, back up, separation from Lot, etc. That's sort of "event" and also "places."

Really pausing to visualize people is a big thing too. Getting cues from the text to see their personality. Like when Cain says back to God, "Am I my brother's keeper?" I read in a commentary that that showed Cain's temper, and I'd never visualized it like that. It's like Cain snapped back at God when he said that. You can visualize it other ways too, but Cain is deep in lies at that point and being interrogated, so you know he's ticked off and perhaps ready to lose it if not losing it.

You can see how this will build if you do it all the way through the Bible. - C.

ps- You can get deep into it too. Like when I read of the 'mist' that rose from the Garden to water the ground (this was before rain) we tend to think morning due, but I was pondering it was natural technology that is no longer used by God but might be still there in some way, or might be an image for higher visual language that can be used in unknown ways...see? crazier thoughts, but those too as I meditate on the Bible...

A note: as I read through this post again it came to me that I've heard people, pastors, theologians, etc., characterize people in the Bible in ways that to my discernment were off-the-mark. Like what I wrote about Cain above. You can get shallow with it this way: by drawing down the entire phenomenon of "Cain" to your current level of understanding solely and cut off aspects of Cain, or just the deeper impressions of tragic evil that exist above, say, moralizing or common thoughts of such things. I.e. I want to meditate on the Bible where it exists, at the level it exists, not draw it down to solely my current level of understanding.

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