“. . . Austin Farrar [once] referred to ‘the forbidding discipline of spiritual reading’ that ordinary people have characteristically brought to this text that forms their souls. Forbidding because it requires that we read with our entire life, not just employing the synapses in our brain. Forbidding because of the endless dodges we devise in avoiding the risk of faith in God. Forbidding because of our restless inventiveness in using whatever knowledge of ‘spirituality’ we acquire to set ourselves up as gods. Forbidding because when we have learned to read and comprehend the words on the page, we find that we have barely begun. Forbidding because it requires all of us, our muscles and ligaments, our eyes and ears, our obedience and adoration, our imaginations and our prayers.” (p.10)
“I want to counter this widespread practice of taking personal experience instead of the Bible as the authority for living. . . . I want to place personal experience under the authority of the Bible and not over it. . . . It is a matter of urgency that interest in our souls be matched by an interest in our Scriptures. . . . An interest in souls divorced from an interest in Scripture leaves us without a text that shapes these souls. In the same way, an interest in Scripture divorced from an interest in souls leaves us without any material for the text to work on.” (p.17)
“. . . not everyone who gets interested in the Bible and even gets excited about the Bible wants to get involved with God. But God is what the book is about. C.S. Lewis . . . talked about two kinds of reading, the reading in which we use a book for our own purposes and the reading in which we receive the author’s purposes. The first ensures only bad reading; the second opens the possibility to good reading.” (p.30)
“If the culture does a thorough job on us – and it turns out to be mighty effective with most of us – we enter adulthood with the working assumption that whatever we need and want and feel forms the divine control center of our lives. The new Holy Trinity. The sovereign self expresses itself in Holy Needs, Holy Wants, and Holy Feelings. . . . The new Trinity doesn’t get rid of God or the Bible, it merely puts them to the service of needs, wants, and feelings.” (pp.32-33)
“God and his ways are not what most of us think. Most of what we are told about God and his ways by our friends on the street, or read about him in the papers, or view on television, or think up on our own, is simply wrong. Maybe not dead wrong, but wrong enough to mess up the way we live.” (pp.34-35)
“When we submit our lives to what we read in Scripture, we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but our stories in God’s. God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves.” (p.44)
Source: Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene Peterson.