Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sayers: the unreality of the Bible

Saturday, December 29, 2012
    Feast of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170
    If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
    —1 Timothy 6:3-5 (NIV)
    The Bible is appointed to be read in churches, where the voice struggles helplessly against the handicaps of an Elizabethan vocabulary, a solemn occasion, an overpowering background, a mute assembly, and acoustics with a two-second echo. The more “beautifully and impressively” it is read, the more unreal it sounds. Most unreal of all is the speech of the story’s central character—every word a “familiar quotation,” pulpit-dissected, sifted, weighed, burdened with a heavy accretion of prophetic and exegetical importance. In a sense not contemplated by the Evangelist, we feel it to be true that never man spake as this man, for by this time the words have lost all likeness to the speech of a living person.
    ... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), Unpopular Opinions, London: Gollancz, 1946, New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1947, p. 19-20 (see the book)
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I seek Your living word.
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