The most important question we ask of the Bible

“All right knowledge of God is born of obedience.”
– John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

Spiritual theologian Eugene Peterson:

If am not participating in the reality – the God reality, the creation/salvation/holiness reality – revealed in the Bible, not involved in the obedience Calvin wrote of, I am probably not going to be much interested in reading about it – at least not for long. 

Obedience is the thing, living in active response to the living God. The most important question we ask of this text is not, “What does this mean?” but “What can I obey?” A simple act of obedience will open up our lives to this text far more quickly than any number of Bible studies and dictionaries and concordances.

Not that the study is not important. A Jewish rabbi I once studied with would often say, “For us Jews studying the Bible is more important than obeying it, because if you don’t understand it rightly you will obey it wrongly and your obedience will be disobedience.”

This is also true.

Eat This Word: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (p. 71)


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