Posted by: alisonwalley | 6 September 2009

What’s inspirational about ‘inspirational’ notes?

Following on from last week’s blog, some other musings on the sort of Bible reading notes which pluck a verse from the Bible and give you some ‘inspirational’ thoughts about it.

You can make the text say almost anything

If you take a verse, a sentence or a phrase in isolation, it could have many meanings. Or perhaps it could be better put as: you can hang lots of things on this peg. All kinds of mixed ideas could be given as a comment on a single sentence or verse.

You are going to have a pretty limited range of verses

Whenever are you going to find inspirational verses in the early chapter of 1 Chronicles (there is one that people go for, it’s 1 Chronicles 4:9-10), much of Leviticus and even the middle of Revelation? And actually, there’s a lot about judgement in many of the prophetic books which might not be very ‘inspirational’.

You’ve got no check as to whether the comment is really Christian

An interesting one this. Where a comment takes a single Bible verse (I can’t be bothered to keep saying ‘a verse, sentence or phrase’, but of course it applies to the last two even more), how do you know whether what’s said is actually in line with the rest of the Bible? OK, so it could be the same for a longer passage, but if you’re going through a book, at least you can compare what’s being said before and after. If you only ever get unconnected snippets you’ve got no baseline to work from.

There are probably a lot of other things to say about this, but that’s enough for now!


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