How important is ihabitatio scriptura, inhabiting scripture, for knowing God? When I say “inhabiting” I mean being so saturated in it that the Holy Spirit has space and opportunity to organically move in and through your being in such a way that there is a personal, “real” encounter with the Person, Jesus Christ. In other words, there is an interiorization of the gospels and epistles (and the Law, Prophets, and Psalms Lk 24) so that our approach to know Jesus isn’t in a fragmented petri dish way; but rather in an intimate marriage like relational way that is formed by a love that was first brought to us through Christ (cf. I Jn 4:19). It is through such thinking and approaching that the scriptures become central to the quest to know the Christian God, via the ordained terms that God has unfolded through the sending of His Son into time and space. Who else but T. F. Torrance gets the last and best word on this:

In seeking to interpret God’s trinitarian self-revelation through the medium of the gospels and epistles we have to do with an altogether deeper dimension in knowledge. But here it holds true that it is through personal dwelling in Christ and interiorising his Word within us that we enter into a cognitive union with him as God incarnate, and are thereby admitted to an intimate knowledge of God’s self-revelation in its intrinsic wholeness and are enabled to discern the truth of his self-revelation as we could not do otherwise. By indwelling the Scriptures of the New Testament and interiorising their message we become drawn into the circle of God’s revelation of himself through himself. Spiritually and theologically regarded, this kind of indwelling, in Christ and his Word, involves faith, devotion, meditation, prayer and worship in and through which we are given discerning access to God in his inner Communion as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Any faithful interpretation of the Scriptures operates on different levels, the linguistic and the conceptual level, but unless the interpreter participates in the movement of God’s unique self-revelation through Christ and in the Spirit which gave rise to the Scriptures and has left its imprint upon them, he or she will fail to understand them in their deep spiritual dimension and will be blind to their essential truth content. Hence if we are to interpret the Holy Scriptures we must cultivate the habit of tuning into them as a whole in order to penetrate into their centre of meaning, so that the spiritual realities and truths of divine revelation to which they testify may be allowed to govern our knowing and shape our understanding of them. It is when we interpret different passages and statements in the light of the whole that their real meaning and force become apparent. (Thomas F. Torrance, “The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons,” 38)

Far from bashing critical study of the scriptures (i.e. linguistic, literary, grammatical/lexical, analyses, etc.), Torrance is underscoring the necessity for “Christian interpreters” to recognize that there is more (not less) involved in the “illuminating” process of exegeting the scriptures; and thus knowing God who is triunity. The point is that scriptures are the ordained medium for knowing Jesus in all of his plenitude as the unfolding of the triune God. Do you see the point? As we are saturated in this medium the Holy Spirit takes it as witness to The medium, Jesus Christ—not only is Jesus The medium, in His Humanity for us, but He is the Beginning in His divinity through which we are enfolded and become partakers of the divine nature and communion shared by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—I digress! Basically, be saturated in the scriptures. That is my admonition to you (and myself).

P. S. I said Torrance would get the last word, and in an inclusiastic way he is (I am trying to point you to his “best word” bracketed by my fumbling commentary 😉 ).

Advertisements