and homiletic approach
is essentially hermeneutic
- it is about how we interpret the Bible.
devotional reading attempts to connect the text as closely as possible to
the experiences of the
reader/hearer. There is a contraction of any
geographical and chronological
distance between the reader and the text. This type of approach can be found in Bible reading
notes, popular/devotional (rather than straight academic) commentaries and
in sermons. Devotional reading often involves the reader seeking to hear God speaking
directly to them - refer to the Witness Statements
This approach has been central to the way that the
Biblical texts have been used since they were first written. It can be
seen within the Jewish religion in the Midrashim tradition, particularly in
(legal) and Aggadic (non-legal) elements. It has been argued that this
type of use of the Bible is reflected in Jesus' reading of Isaiah in the
synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21).
It is, therefore, not surprising that it has also
had a central place in Christianity from its earliest times and some of
our earliest Christian writings reflect this approach. Click on the
Evidence Bag (right) for more information.
Over to You
|Have a look at
the Bible reading notes produced by the Scripture Union in the grey box on the
Note how the text and reader and brought
together and how an element (the leper's apparent disobedience) is
emphasised, explained and then used to illustrate a particular
lesson. Compare this with Bede's Homily (in the Evidence Bag).
|Are there any other ways in
which the text or parts of it can relate to our lives?
When you initially read this
passage, what did you think was the main lesson/moral/story?
Why do you think that Mark
recorded it - what was he trying to say about Jesus/the leper and
what was he trying to tell his readers/hearers?
A Devotional Reading from Scripture
Union's 'Daily Bread'
The Unreasonable Request
Does it ever occur to you that you canít stop
witnessing to others about your faith? Our faith, or lack of it, shows up
in every area of our life, whether we want it to or not. Think about how
great it is to have a faith which is impossible to keep from sharing.
'A man with a life-crippling disease, his prognosis bleak and hopeless,
banished to the outskirts of life, facing only loneliness, rejection,
ridicule, poverty and abandonment, is miraculously healed (v 42). In an
instant, his life has been transformed from hopeless suffering to a bright and
hope-filled future. And what does Jesus say? ĎSee that you donít tell this
(v 44). Yeah, right! Are you kidding? Just a few moments ago this man was on
the brink of depression; his body slumped over, his feet shuffling along
slowly and painfully. And now he canít stop laughing and his feet canít
stop dancing. His body is now straight, full of energy and life, and he is
supposed to keep quiet! Sorry, not possible. This isnít about disobeying a
command of Jesus, this is about obeying his heart; this isnít about
containing Jesus, this is about celebrating Jesus; this isnít about his
refusal to witness to the church, this is about his inability to keep from
witnessing to everyone he comes in contact with.
We donít know why Jesus told the man to keep quiet, but sharing our faith is
not a mechanistic, duty-filled obligation we force ourselves to do. It is a
natural, spontaneous response to the grace of God. We share our faith because
we cannot help but share it.
Take a few minutes and write down all
the reasons you feel gratitude towards God. Place that list somewhere where
you can see it all day long (on your desk, refrigerator, car dashboard) and
just celebrate Godís grace towards you today.
by Gethin Russell-Jones © 2003 Scripture
published in Daily Bread Jan-March
2003, used with permission.