Saturday, September 5, 2015

My soul is exhilarated by the thought of reading, hearing, or uttering scripture from the Bible. Perhaps it is because I have spent considerable time over the last twenty years reading, gleaning, learning, and teaching lessons from the Bible. Although I have formal education in the Bible, my experience and initial feasting from the reading and hearing of the scripture goes back as far as I can remember. My grandmother and uncle taught bible study when I was growing up. Bible study happened in Sunday school with teachers that were laity. Wednesday evening and Thursday noon Bible study was taught by the pastor. Studying the scripture was a part of life not just something to do, nor was it a chore. Studying was not simply reading, it was also speaking, hearing, and being. As youngsters, we were taught not to just recite scripture on special Sundays like Easter, we were expected to recite it as though we were conveying the very Words of God. We were asked to recite with clarity of speech and as if we believed it. These experiences formed my personal exegetical identity to seek God through the Word of God and in the act of doing so, God would accomplish His Word in me. The teachers and preachers were story tellers and made the scripture come alive. As the preacher or teacher would describe the context of the scripture, often referred to by the preachers as the “backdrop” or the “scene” using illustrations from inner city situations to help give us an idea of what it might have been like—we were transported into the feelings and passions of the persons in the Bible. There were many enactments, skits, plays that helped us to remember. My soul rejoices in the rich heritage of learning.        
          In my scripture learning experience, there was an expectation that God was present and that the scripture and God’s personal message in and through the scripture would reach into the persons present and make an inward difference that would produce healing, deliverance, grace, strength, provision, transformation, and revelation even to those who didn’t want to hear because it was always taught to us that “God’s Word would not return void,” a direct reference from Isaiah 55:11 wherein God says through the prophet, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (NASB) Our teachers reasoned with us with their rapid-firing cross references: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever"(Isaiah 40:8) and in the same breath teaching Trinitarian theology by quoting Jesus words in Matthew  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”  Whether the hermeneutical principles were adequate or not, the apparent affect was noticeable in the lives of those teachers personally and also in me.  As I reflect on those times, I ponder what instances were eisegetical and which were exegetical. Nevertheless, it is my observation upon reflection that similar and admirable methodology was used to exegete the text as was stated in the Osborne text(The Hermeneutical Spiral)—to deal with the text which would include the syntax and etymology or linguistics, the context—time, people, land—and the intent of the writer.
               My approach to scripture is not just what I learned in Bible College nor seminary but reaches back into the crucible of my formative years. It includes prayer, attention to the text first, the context, and partaking of the Spirit of God’s movement through that time with the Word and thus with God personally.  I learned to do sentence diagramming—although I’m not an expert—it did always help me to dig deeper not only with myself but with those I taught. I can sometimes work in one passage for months. When I go to the Caribbean, I find myself without distractions. As a result, I take my time and come back refreshed when I commune with God through the scriptures. My workbook is full of sentences and words with blocks and circles and arrows showing word relationships, synthesis to timeless principles and notes. The challenge in my life now where it relates to my scripture feeding disciplines is that of swift transitions, trying to meet the expectations of others, and managing my own time.  My desire is to be immersed in the scripture and the application of such truth manifest in my life every day. I find myself making renewed commitments every three months. I also belong to a couple of covenant groups as well. I am reminded that this is a journey and in that I do find hope and grace.

               In Eat This Book, Peterson stated, “...every part of the revelation, every aspect, every form is personal—God is relational at the core—and so whatever is said, whatever is revealed is also personal and relational.” I greatly appreciate the grace-filled opportunities the relational aspect of life, love, and God afford.  If relationships are part of the key to Organizational Leadership, exegetical studies can reveal new insights, timeless principles, and key learnings that would be beneficial in assessing Organizational Leadership best practices particularly since context will differ in how leadership is understood, and since every organizational leader has a context in which she or he has developed.