Read with your heart

Good morning everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Great thoughts from great Christians”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “Read the Bible with your heart not just with your head.”
 
Poetry is widely misunderstood and underappreciated. Surveys indicate that fewer than 10% of Americans claim to like poetry, and only 7% say they have intentionally read a poem in the last year. However, it’s just not true. The truth is that they do read poetry and they do like it, even if they don’t realize they do. For instance, words in a song are a form of poetry. Song lyrics are essentially poetry set to music. So, if you like songs then you do like poetry. Also, roughly one-third of the Bible is given to us in some form of poem. Therefore, if you love the Bible, and if you read it, then there’s another form of poetry that you do like and which you do read.
 
One of the big problems people have with all forms of poetry is that we try to understand it with our head instead of with our heart. This is especially true when we read the Bible. We read it as narrative and expect it to make logical sense to our intellect so we can learn and memorize some lesson that will enable us to live better. But poetry isn’t intended to appeal to our intellect; it’s intended to appeal to our heart. It’s designed to involve us on an emotional level not on an intellectual level. Do most of the songs you love connect more with your head or with your heart? With your heart, right? You enter into the story of the song with your imagination, and then the story captures you at an emotional level, not on an intellectual one.
 
You listen to and appreciate a song with your heart more than with your head, and that’s the best way to read the Bible too. We are to enter into the story and using our imaginations, engage with it on an emotional level. Connect with it in your heart rather than in your head. Author Matthew Mullins calls it “reading with your gut”. In his book, “Enjoying the Bible: Literary Approaches to Enjoying Scripture” he writes, “When reading the Bible, we need the music with the message or it becomes just cold hard doctrine … Read with your gut.” He goes on, “We need to read with the heart of a poet and with an appreciation for the beauty.”
 
In Psalm 119:11 did the Psalmist say he treasured the Word of God in his head? No, he said he treasures it in his heart. In other words, more than just connecting with the Word on an intellectual level, he was engaging with in on an emotional level. He was reading with his gut, engaging with his emotions. That’s how we come to understand and appreciate any form of poetry – be it a children’s nursery rhyme, a traditional poem by Emily Dickinson, a song on the radio, or a passage from the Bible.
 
In your Bible reading today try reading with your heart and not just with your head.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim 
Copyright © 2021 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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