Is Eat this Book by Eugene Peterson. How do you read the Bible?
I begin with my own orientation to Peterson’s book.
Some view the Bible through epistemological eyes: they see it as truth and upon this truth all others truths and knowledge can be established. The dominant word is truth. Others view the Bible through ideological eyes: they see the Bible as a protest against a cultural establishment and its dominant word is justice. Yet others see the Bible through moral eyes: they see it as commandment and the dominant word is obedience.
Peterson sees the Bible through formational eyes: he views as something to eat. So, he proposes — in addition to the salutary points above and not at all denying any of them — we read it in the mode of lectio divina, and he has a theologically-rich understanding of lectio. Don’t think of a few folks sitting around a table reading the Bible and hearing voices. Instead, think of the psalmist of Psalm 119 or Jesus or Paul’s marvelous comment to Timothy. Think Augustine — that’s the sort of Bible he has in mind when he discusses lectio divina.
Meditatio: mull and chew and ruminate.
Contemplatio: let it work its way into the sinews of our being so that we live it out.
Any view of the Bible that doesn’t lead to formation isn’t reading the Bible for what it is intended to do. Eugene Peterson does just that. Lectio leads to formatio.
I sat out to read this book in an evening. After all, it is only about 180 pages. Was I in for a surprise. Captiving prose, elegant imagery, and a fire that starts burning as you open its pages and increases in flame as you turn from page to page. I poised myself over its pages for two days — often looking up in thanks and gazing into my back yard lost in pondering over the richness of this book. Marvelous. I’ve read books on the Bible ever since I was in college when Harold Lindsell through the first pitch to begin the battle for the Bible, but I’ve not read one book that I thought got the job done as well as Peterson. If you read this book it will lead you to Eat the Book of all Books.