Israel, 2017

I didn’t realize it until a few moments ago, but for the last couple of years (maybe longer), I’ve been thinking about the question: “What is Scripture?” Now that I realize this has been a foundational question for me, I also realize the answer I’ve been living with for just as long. Here’s my answer: Scripture is any text that a person feels summoned to read and read again because that text inevitably speaks into your life and guides you.

When I look at my bookshelves, piles of old CDs and other accumulated texts, I see many that I love and cherish and that have shaped me. I see many that I’d love to read or listen to again, but likely won’t. I see a few that keep finding their way into my life. E.E. Cummings for example, Nietzsche, Thich Nhat Hahn, The Grateful Dead, the Psalms, They Might Be Giants, Kafka, the Torah. So long as my reading and listening to these texts leads to a mutual softening, opening, and revealing, these will  be, for me, Scriptures.

What I’m coming to realize is that Scripture is a dance between text and reader. Sometimes the text is undeniably compelling, sometimes the reader is exceptionally engaged, sometimes when Scripture comes to life, the two meet in a place of wisdom and discernment.

What is Scripture?