People who read the Bible for information are focused on facts. Awareness, familiarity and developing biblical comprehension and understanding are the primary objectives. Reading for information concentrates on collecting data, learning about Christianity, understanding the stories and teachings, investigating Christ, reading Judeo Christian history, or becoming acquainted with God.
Take away the prefix ‘in’ from information and the stem word is formation. Formation is defined as the act of giving or taking form, constructing or developing, coming or bringing into existence. Reading the Bible for formation opens a person to an interaction and exchange with God. Formation reading is creative in nature; involving growth and shaping that potentially leads to change. When people read the Bible for formation they’re interested in learning right from wrong, seeking direction and purpose for their lives, wanting to be ‘fed’ and grow in faith, looking for help or hope, in search of inspiration, or trying to build a relationship with God.
Adding the prefix ‘trans’ to the stem word formation introduces yet another level of connecting with the Bible – reading for transformation. Transformation is defined as a radical change or alteration – a conversion to another form. In biblical parlance it’s when a person stops conforming to the pattern of the world and is inwardly altered by the renewing of their mind (cf. Romans 12:2). Transformational reading involves a deep rooted modification of the heart so that a person’s intentions, inclinations and spiritual instincts are directed to Christ and His glory.
Revelation is the act or process of disclosing something that was previously hidden or obscure. In the Parable of the Sower the climax of the story comes when people “hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop” (Mark 4:20). When reading the Bible results in people becoming living epistles, i.e., being public life words, then reading for revelation has occurred. Producing a crop is the ultimate goal. It’s not enough to hear the Word and accept it; the inward must become outward – the concealed must be revealed.
© Copyright Scripture Union Canada, 2012