Friday, 27 May 2011

Bonhoeffer on the Bible

"First of all I will confess quite freely - I believe that the Bible alone is the answer to all our questions, and that we need only to ask repeatedly and a little humbly, in order to receive the answer. One cannot simply read the Bible, like other books. One must be prepared really to enquire of it. Only thus will it reveal itself. Only if we expect from it the ultimate answer, shall we receive it. That is because in the Bible God speaks to us. And one cannot simply think about God in one's own strength, one has to enquire of him. Only if we seek him, will he answer us. Of course it is also possible to read the Bible like any other book, that is to say from the point of view of textual criticism, etc.; there is nothing to be said against that. Only that that is not the method which will reveal to us the heart of the Bible, but only the surface, just as we do not grasp the words of someone we love by taking them to bits, but by simply receiving them, so that for days they go on lingering in our minds, simply because they are the words of a person we love; and just as those words reveal more and more of the person who said them as we go on, like Mary, 'pondering them in our heart', so it will be with the words of the Bible. Only if we will venture to enter into the words of the Bible as though in them this God were speaking to us who loves us and does not will us to leave us along with our questions, only so shall we learn to rejoice in the Bible...

"And I would like to tell you now quite personally: since I have learnt to read the Bible in this way - and this has not been for very long - it becomes every day more wonderful to me. I read it in the morning and the evening, often during the day as well, and every day I consider a text I have chosen for the whole week, and try to sink deeply into it, so as really to hear what it is saying. I know that without this I could not live properly any longer."

Quoted in 'Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy' by Eric Metaxas, p 136.

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