Thinking Out Loud

July 14, 2012

Manipulating Scripture

Filed under: bible — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:41 am

I am sure that some people will read today’s title and assume this to be a discussion of how to force scripture to say something it isn’t saying; to use a Bible verse as a proof text in order to make some point; or simply do a terrible job of interpretation.

But I am thinking of manipulate in the sense of

to handle, manage, or use, especially with skill, in some process of treatment or performance []

If it is true that in Old Testament times, scripture was regarded as a jewel or precious stone — one that reflected and refracted the light in infinite ways depending on how it was held — then we ought to approach scripture with similar expectations.

A few weeks ago I was focusing on the verse that, in the old KJV reads, “Thou wilt keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.”  I couldn’t help but notice there were several four-letter words there: Thou, wilt, keep, mind, thee.  I got to wondering if I could compose the whole text with words of four letters. This has nothing to do with whatever some of you are associating with “four letter words,” and in fact, I did another verse that week with five letter words, but can’t recall now what it was.  Anyway, I came up with:


Nothing particularly profound there, and I did take the liberty of adding ‘body’ and ‘soul’ to what was originally just ‘mind.’  (And I’m normally not a ‘Thee’ and ‘Thou’ person!)

But I can’t say how much this little exercise, and a few others, kept me focused on that scripture, brought related scriptures to memory, and crowded out other thoughts which would have brought me down instead of lifting me up.

Is this too far outside the definition of “meditating on scripture” for you? Or does this fit the idea of figuratively holding the verse in your hand and watching the light (the truth) reflect and refract in different ways?

Read another related thought-life post here from a few weeks ago: You Control This Moment.


  1. This reminds me of an exercise I used in my adults Bible Study class years ago. I asked them to condense the passage being studied to just 20 words, but include everything. It made them think seriously about the content, and by the time we met, most had a reasonable understanding of the passage.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — July 15, 2012 @ 4:56 am

  2. […] perspective.  Over the past few days I’ve written about the battle that goes on for our thought life, and how this takes place on a moment by moment basis.  Back in June, I posted a great analysis of […]

    Pingback by Christian Media in the Home « Thinking Out Loud — July 16, 2012 @ 9:51 am

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