Why and how we read matters as much as what we read.
It is not enough to read the Bible; you must eat the book
(quoting Eugene Peterson and Ezekiel 3:3).
The premise of Reading for the Love of God is that words must get inside you and change you. This is transformation vs. information. If you want to know how to "eat the book," learn how to read – not only the Bible but other great books as well – as a spiritual practice.
To be a critic is to stand over the text making the reader judge and master over the text. This standing over prevents the understanding necessary to be transfigured by the reading. The reader should approach the book in the way a student draws near a teacher, with a willingness to learn, to receive, from the books. (p. 11)
Wilson places a strong emphasis on how medieval Christians saw deeper meanings in everything they read in the Bible, and criticizes Luther (and the Reformation) for making the literal meaning of the text paramount thereby excluding the other “senses” (allegorical, tropological, and anagogical). I find this to be problematic because it leaves too much room for heretical interpretations. One of her main examples of a saint whose reading style we should imitate is Juliana of Norwich. But Wilson doesn’t mention that Juliana’s zeal to see the love of God in every verse of Scripture caused her to negate the possibility of wrath, judgment or hell.
Apart from that caveat, I appreciated Wilson’s deep love for the written word and her encouragement to keep reading deeply.
A life of reading counteracts the malformation of screen and digital technology…. In contrast to many other pastimes, reading demands engagement. It asks something of the participant. It cultivates that person’s imagination and increases their vision of the world. (p. 15)Blessings,