Scripture Engagement

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1, ESV)

Scripture Engagement. O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you (Psalm 63:1, ESV).

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1, ESV).

What we are striving to accomplish here at Savoir et croire .ca goes hand in hand with the work of Dr Phil Collins of the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement.

What is Scripture Engagement about? It aims at helping people coming to the Bible with the intent of  encoutering God in order to know Him better. Without precluding serious studying of the Bible aimed at understanding the contexts and contents of Bible books, Scripture Engagement reminds and equips us to come to the Scripture to meet its Author.

Dr. Phil Collins’s presentation about Scripture Engagement provides a basic understanding of what this is is all about and of why it is important for believers and everyone. A thorough presentation is available from the Scripture Engagement Section at BibleGateway.com.

The video, Reading the Bible Existentially, by Dr R. C. Sproul, of Ligonier Ministries, provides an interesting example of how Scripture Engagement can be applied.

The book of Psalms provides ample material to apply to one’s life those principles of Scripture Engagement as presented by Dr. Phil Collin or R.C. Sproul. Whatever name one chooses to summarize such an approach with, the Bible, to be profitable to those reading and studying it, must be taken as the Word of God spoken to us here and now. Allow me to quote from Psalm 107, providing what seems like a very good place to start-out:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies” (Psalm 107 v 1-2, New Living Translation).

The above quoted verses are but the introduction of four groups of people that were going through hardship and suffering greatly. In some cases, it was the consequence of their rebellious attitudes towards God and His Word. In other cases, they did not seem to have done anything particularly wrong, as far as I can understand from Psalm 107. But in each case, they were delivered after they came to the point of turning to God:

  • Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live  (Psalm 107 v4-7, New Living Translation).
  • Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery. They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High. That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one was there to help them. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He led them from darkness and deepest gloom; and he snapped their chains (Ps 107 v 10-14, NLT).
  • Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins. They couldn’t stand the thought of food, and they were knocking on death’s door. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. (Psalm 107 v 17-20, NLT).
  • Some went off to sea in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas. He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stiled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor (Psalm 107 v 23-30)!

Now I don’t know about yourself, but I can personally identify with all four of these groups of people. There were times in my life when for no apparent fault of my own I really got in trouble (groups 1 and 4 above). There were also times when the trouble that came to me was the result of my own sin (group 2) or foolishness (group 3). Eventually I realized I could not get through the situation without God’s help, so I cried out to Him and He did bring me safely on to better times and circumstances.  This Psalm 107 also reminds me of at least one more very important thing that I want to abide by. When God does answer our pleas for help and chooses to help us out, it is important to thank Him for having delivered us from our troubles (Psalm 107 v 8-9, 15-16, 21-22, 31-32).

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Daniel Garneau, B Th, B Com, MA
Edited: May 2016; Dec 2017; January and July 2018.