“The majority of us have no ear for anything but ourselves, we cannot hear a thing God says.” —Oswald Chambers

Reading of Jeremiah’s weeping over his lost and self-absorbed people, I nearly lost it. I could have wept myself. I was reading aloud in front of a few listeners, and I had to pull it together to continue on.

I’ve recently been part of a simple plan advanced by the Gladstone Community Church and Mariemont Community Church. The plan is this: Read the whole Bible out loud. Pass the reading from person to person, anyone who wants to take a turn. The entire reading will take around 80 hours. I have taken a couple of turns at this reading, and expect to take a couple more.

It is often the basic points that elude us. For me, feeling my own voice speak out the lines of scripture has given me a renewed experience of one basic point in particular. Namely, the Bible is not a reference book and really not even a guide book. The Bible is an encounter.

Our God, strangely, has feelings. He tells us he has a heart. By means of scripture—or by means of the human beings whose insight he illuminated as they wrote the documents that would become scripture—God descended into language and into composition in order to explain the ideas and share the emotion that he hopes we will seek to understand.

On this blog lately, I've been holding up the questions of how God speaks and how we can listen. They’re important questions. In looking at them, however, it is vital to be mindful of the extent to which he has already spoken.