I deeply appreciated Dr. Johnson’s illustration of two knobs: one representing our own internal voice, the other that of the Old Testament authors. Adamantly, he encouraged turning the knob of our own voice down, and that of the authors up. It has to be one part vanity that I don’t always do this, but in this course, I think I realized it’s another part fear. Read enough of the Old Testament, with it’s wars, laws, and ancient customs, and sometimes a tiny voice in the back of one’s head speaks up and says “Don’t read more; you might not like what you find.” In that sense, letting the authors speak is risky business, because it might threaten concepts or presuppositions that I’ve always held.
But I’ve never ultimately been disappointed by the process. If anything, my study of scripture becomes ten times richer when I read it through the lens of intentionally-written literature, where themes, repetition and phrasing actually matter. I think the church at large would benefit from this as well – following their natural curiosity where it leads (the 10% on our own volume knob) but listening to the answers Hebraic authors give (the 90%).
Not only is God’s word living and active, useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking etc…. it contains some of the best stories ever told.