Imagining You're in the Story of Scripture

How can we remain emotionally engaged with the text of Scripture when we make it an object of academic study?

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Academic study often does push "the mind" to the forefront and the emotions backward. But let's say it this way: we're whole beings body, soul, mind, strength, emotions, will and mind, and therefore, we should engage the whole person. You know, how do you get engaged when you've been academically studying Greek or Hebrew, the structure of a passage? One answer is, pretend you're there. If you're reading a historical narrative, imagine what it would have been like to be there when Jesus wept over Lazarus, when Lazarus came forth. So, as you picture yourself being there, you will reengage the whole person as well. Another way to keep our emotions engaged is to picture the people to whom you're speaking. If you know someone in your church has just experienced a death, has just become married, has just gotten a job after a long search, you know, feel that when you talk about work. Picture the people to whom you're ministering in your mind, the joy or perhaps sorrow they're feeling at the time. And as you remember that it's not just you and the Scripture, it's you and the Scripture for the sake of your people, your emotions will stay engaged in a godly way.

Answer by Dr. Dan Doriani

Dan Doriani is Professor of Theology at Covenant Theological Seminary