Too often, our study of the Bible focuses on searching for specific information or some formula that will solve our pressing needs of the moment. But what if we approached the Bible differently, and instead of transforming the text to meet our needs, allowed it to transform us?
That's exactly the idea behind Life with God, Richard J. Foster's much-anticipated book on the Bible. Foster, bestselling author of Celebration of Discipline and general editor of The Renovar� Spiritual Formation Bible, claims that God has superintended the writing of Scripture so that it serves as the most reliable guide for Christian spiritual formation. According to Foster, the Bible is all about human life "with God." As we read Scripture, we should consider how exactly God is with us in each story and allow ourselves to be spiritually transformed. By opening our whole selves--mind, body, spirit, thoughts, behavior, and will--to the page before us, we begin to grasp all the Bible has to teach about prayer, obedience, compassion, virtue, and grace and apply it to our everyday lives to achieve a deeper relationship with God.
With a wealth of examples and simple yet crucial insights, Life with God is an indispensable guide to approaching the Bible through the lens of Christian spiritual formation, revealing that reading the Bible for interior transformation is a far different endeavor than reading the Bible for historical knowledge, literary appreciation, or religious instruction.
Foster (Celebration of Discipline) has built a career exploring foundational spiritual practices like fasting, prayer, study and worship. Here he zeroes in on Bible study to help Christians grow in their faith. Although Bible study is nothing if not a well-trod topic, Foster breathes new life into it by drawing on ancient resources: he is especially interested in the age-old practice of lectio divina,sacred reading that requires the attention of both mind and heart. Foster cautions several times that lectio divinais neither a magical solution to problems nor an approach that "bypasses the living God by treating the Scriptures as a sort of Ouija board." He warns that the Bible is also not an owner's manual for successful living or even moral living; we shouldn't read it merely to serve our own needs. Rather, lectio divinaoffers an invitation to enter the Bible as a story (or a complex group of stories) and enter its river of life. As usual, Foster's work is not for those readers who are seeking quick answers or a behavioral checklist of what the Bible says they should do. Rather, it is a deep reflective guide to spiritual rumination and growth. (Apr. 22)
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1 . Book Review
Posted June 06, 2008 by Scott Cheatham , Denver, ColoradoThis was a great ebook. I enjoy Foster's writing and this was no exception. His approach to engage the bible text and let it change us rather than look for ways to change it to appeal to our wants is solid. The spiritual disciplines are not approached quickly nor entered into lightly. This book gives a good outline on life transformation which continues throughout our lives. If you are familiar with his best known work, "Celebration of Discipline", you will want to share this book as a prerequisite prior to reading it.
All in all, a very solid book. Well worth the read.
April 21, 2008
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