PDA

View Full Version : Discussion The Bible and Bibliomancy



grit
Jan 15th 2009, 04:27 PM
It’s been a while since I brought up the subject of bibliomancy. We’ve got quite a diverse group of believer’s here at Bibleforums (which is now somewhat regarded as the top Christian discussion board, by traffic and online use. Congrats!), so I’d enjoy your feedback on this issue.

Now bibliomancy can mean different things. Basically it has to do with certain uses or evaluations of the Bible which are considered mystical. For example, some find special use of the name “Jesus” has a mystical power. Some find that wearing a cross or use of “holy water” has mystical powers. Some find being in a special place, like Jerusalem or a church or beside a devout Christian conveys special mystical powers or a special presence of God. Bibliomancy would sometimes claim the Bible itself conveys special mystical powers, but the practice is mostly associated with opening the Bible and ‘blindly’ pointing one's finger to a certain passage, using that indication as somehow revelatory of God's will or special message intended for following. There's quite the spectrum of appraisal of the practice. Some see it as magical, with pagan overtones of inappropriate and Scripturally condemned divination. Some, especially when accompanied with devout intercessory prayer, find it similarly harkens back to OT use of the Urim and Thummin in discerning God's will. Some see it as a barely tolerable questioning of God, expressing a lack of faith and trust in what God has otherwise clearly revealed as His will. While others can be quite emphatic that the apparent randomness cuts man out of the equation of God’s direction in a matter, that otherwise our human faculties might interfere with God’s direction and expression of His will.

On the disparaging side, the old story is often told of a man who turned to the Bible with eyes closed, put his finger on a verse, and read, "Judas went and hanged himself." Seeking clarification, he randomly tried again, finding, "Go thou and do likewise." And with one last shot, he was quite undone when his finger found, "What thou doest, do quickly!" This story is usually used to enforce that magically discerning God’s will is a poor substitute for our “cooperation” with the Holy Spirit through prayer and Bible study, through use of the reasonable abilities God has given us as being created in His image.

On the encouraging side, many claim quite a spiritually moving experience of having God guide them apart from their natural inclinations of “human interference”. The movie Sergeant York, for example, popularized God’s guidance in this way, with the main character Alvin York going to a solitary place where ‘the wind’ blows open the Scriptures to a passage that helps determine whether or not Alvin should participate in a World War with Germany.

What think you?
:hmm:

Ixthus
Jan 15th 2009, 04:31 PM
I think that the miracles are coming from God, not from a physical object.

And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Luke:18:27

Yukerboy
Jan 15th 2009, 05:12 PM
I think that the miracles are coming from God, not from a physical object.

And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Luke:18:27


I would agree with that.

All things are possible with God.

I remember having problems financially and the house would be foreclosed on. I remember praying to God and asking Him to deliver me from my burdens. Give it all to God, I was told. People talked of how they prayed while "in need" and then they would receive some sort of windfall and that would bail them out.

So, I prayed.
And prayed.
And prayed.

A couple weeks after I had panicked, I went out to the mailbox. You know what I found?

A final notice on foreclosure.

So, I did Bibliomancy as termed here. Please God, guide me to the right Scripture, opened my Bible and I see....

1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

Hah, that fits.....not. Plus, I knew I cheated by opening the Bible towards the back end because that's where the New Testament is at. ;)

So, I went out to my living room and prayed some more.

When I opened my eyes, I looked at the plasma tv I had. If I sell that, even for 1/2 price, I get 1 and 1/2 payments.

I looked at the car I owned. I could sell that, no payments were left on it, and buy a clunker to get me by. That would take care of a huge part of my overdue payments on the house.

So, I quit praying and started selling. Quite humbling to give up what you think you have worked for and earned.

So, yes God provided a way (an even easier way had I practiced good stewardship), but a way nonetheless. Sometimes, the way God makes for us to take is not the way we want to take.

Don't take me wrong. I don't doubt there are people that prayed and prayed and got a windfall. Good on them. That way obviously was not for me.

Teke
Jan 15th 2009, 05:16 PM
It would be misleading to say that something like " bibliomancy" is insignificant, when God uses every part of His creation to interact with us. It is not the object that is of import but the experience or interaction of experiencing that is mystical to us.

One side may view this as a form of divination while another side sees a form of reasoning. I'd go with the latter because we are experiential beings. But I wouldn't limit that to only the bible. The written word, the spoken word, is as art or touch. We experience it like everything else, in an ontological way.

Dani H
Jan 15th 2009, 05:46 PM
There have been times when I randomly opened Scripture and as I began reading, found that it spoke to me exactly where I was. But then again, the Bible is God's Word, and so no matter where I open it, I would expect for it to speak to me. No matter what book or chapter I'm in, the sense of peace and the joy over His truth and the knowing God is near, remains the same. For the most part, though, before I open the good Book, I have some sense of where to go already within me, and then it goes from there, which I know is God directing my studies and my reading.

I'm not going to say that randomly poking around in Scripture to pull out a verse as our answer cannot happen. But it certainly shouldn't be our habit. Study to show yourself approved. Not "open the scrolls randomly and poke your finger and that's God's answer to you".

Yukerboy
Jan 15th 2009, 06:01 PM
There have been times when I randomly opened Scripture and as I began reading, found that it spoke to me exactly where I was. But then again, the Bible is God's Word, and so no matter where I open it, I would expect for it to speak to me. No matter what book or chapter I'm in, the sense of peace and the joy over His truth and the knowing God is near, remains the same. For the most part, though, before I open the good Book, I have some sense of where to go already within me, and then it goes from there, which I know is God directing my studies and my reading.

I'm not going to say that randomly poking around in Scripture to pull out a verse as our answer cannot happen. But it certainly shouldn't be our habit. Study to show yourself approved. Not "open the scrolls randomly and poke your finger and that's God's answer to you".

Isaiah 47:5 Sit in silence, go into darkness, Daughter of the Babylonians; no more will you be called queen of kingdoms.

Sorry, just pulled bibliomancy for a good response.

So, was it as good for you as it was for me? :(

one_lost_coin
Jan 15th 2009, 06:03 PM
One is not to base their Christian walk on a random finger point into scripture when we are called to conform our lives to all of it. Whether God may speak to use through a verse at just the right time and when he may do so is up to Him but the bible is not a magic 8 ball and this method inevitably would seem to me would make it to be. To live this belief out as a reasonable and daily approach to scripture reading would seem to reduce God to less than He is.

Develop a daily bible reading habit and pray daily. Learn to discern God's voice like we do anyone else by spending time with Him. I would recommend Lectio Divina which is a prayerful reading of scripture that calls for a sincere response to what God wants to say to us.

Jesus did not come to do parlor tricks but to change our lives from the inside out.

Elouise
Jan 15th 2009, 06:05 PM
I think God can speak to us in a medium we are able to hear.

For thosewho think visually it may be through a vision or dream.
For those who think musically through a song a lyric
For those who love words it can be trough the bible, God knows our hearts and knows when we turn the bible in human desperation and dispair seeking something to begin to point us back towards him and when we do it as a quick solve it solution to suit ourselves.

Yukerboy
Jan 15th 2009, 06:11 PM
the bible is not a magic 8 ball

Spot on! I love that comparison.

Teke
Jan 15th 2009, 06:21 PM
To live this belief out as a reasonable and daily approach to scripture reading would seem to reduce God to less than He is.

Indeed. :)


Develop a daily bible reading habit and pray daily. Learn to discern God's voice like we do anyone else by spending time with Him. I would recommend Lectio Divina which is a prayerful reading of scripture that calls for a sincere response to what God wants to say to us.


I would fully support this approach. It took some five years once for me to get a response on a particular subject doing this. And it was well worth the wait and work.

HisLeast
Jan 15th 2009, 06:58 PM
Yes! I've been looking for a word for this concept for years. "Bibliomancy"... its perfect.

To me it seems like a means of "bumping the pinball machine". Just the right mix of desire/desperation and all the right physical moves and the result you want will be yours. And in such ways do people trick themselves into viewing God as the great cosmic vending machine.

grit
Jan 16th 2009, 01:59 PM
So, I’m seeing signs that most of us reason that God ‘speaks’ through the natural world, but that randomly pointing to a passage of Scripture for specific guidance-on-demand is too iffy or demeaning of God, in keeping with certain Scriptures that might associate bibliomancy with seeking a sign from God:

Matthew 12:38-40, NASB: Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and {yet} no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
John 6:26-30, NKJV: Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
1 Corinthians 14:21-22, ESV: In the Law it is written, "By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord." Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.

No one commenting thus far has proffered that the Bible (say, like use of a cross or saying the name “Jesus”) has special innate protective powers or is a holy object of veneration that automatically conveys a special presence of God.

Is there, however, a certain righteous expectation that when we inquire of God, when we ‘pray’, that He will indeed always answer? That when we turn to Scripture we will always find “God’s will” for us? That He will always answer when we call upon Him? Or must we have our hearts first inclined to some particularly ‘right’ fashion? Or is seeking some ‘sign’ from God, like say, speaking in tongues or witnessing a healing or randomly pointing to a verse, a wrong way of relationship with God?

I’m ‘seeing’ that commentators here find it admirable and useful to meditate upon God’s Word with a prayerful heart, but is there a line of demarcation between proper and improper expectations of God’s speaking through the Bible (or the natural world) in communicating His will on a matter, or so showing a special presence of Himself through ‘signs’?

Teke
Jan 16th 2009, 03:58 PM
No one commenting thus far has proffered that the Bible (say, like use of a cross or saying the name “Jesus”) has special innate protective powers or is a holy object of veneration that automatically conveys a special presence of God.

Is there, however, a certain righteous expectation that when we inquire of God, when we ‘pray’, that He will indeed always answer? That when we turn to Scripture we will always find “God’s will” for us? That He will always answer when we call upon Him? Or must we have our hearts first inclined to some particularly ‘right’ fashion? Or is seeking some ‘sign’ from God, like say, speaking in tongues or witnessing a healing or randomly pointing to a verse, a wrong way of relationship with God?

I’m ‘seeing’ that commentators here find it admirable and useful to meditate upon God’s Word with a prayerful heart, but is there a line of demarcation between proper and improper expectations of God’s speaking through the Bible (or the natural world) in communicating His will on a matter, or so showing a special presence of Himself through ‘signs’?

Frankly Grit, there is no defining line. Your questions are asking, what is right and what is wrong. There is not right or wrong way for a person to seek God. We all "feel" after Him. He created us that way.


Act 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

Act 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Act 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.


I am a grown healthy studied Christian. I have a sister who is blind. I have a grandson that is only 4 yrs old. None of us is greater than another. We all learn from each other though we all do things differently. God uses us and everything we associate with to interact both with Him and one another.

God never condemned anyone for doing something they thought was right. Even if they did it wrong, their heart was in the right place, so He made it right. From Adam onward, this has been the case.

When one of my children was small, she took it upon herself to take oil and anoint people in the name of Jesus. I never stopped her or hindered her from doing so. If she believed that the oil and what she was doing was the thing she must do, who am I to tell her differently. How was I to know that God wasn't directing such a thing. Whether she had power or the oil had power was besides the point you see. Because we are only able to do these things through God.