Subscribe via RSS Feed

Eugene Peterson: “Eat This Book”


Eugene H. Peterson, “Eat This Book: The Holy Community at Table with Holy Scripture,” Theology Today (April 1999), pages 5-17.

Does the Bible really have anything to say to us today? If so, how do we find out what it says? Eugene Peterson—best known for his earthy translation of the Scriptures, The Message—offers a fresh challenge to take the Bible as the singular rule for living the Christian life. He challenges Christians to feed on the Word of God wherein our spiritual lives are formed as the Holy Spirit makes the Word real to us.

Eugene Peterson

This former pastor and a retired professor of Regent College (Vancouver) makes his point eloquently, so much so that nearly every paragraph has a statement so quotable one could fill an office with plaques. “Christians feed on Scripture. Holy Scripture nurtures the Holy Community as food nurtures the human body” (p. 6). “God does not put us in charge of forming our personal spiritualities. We grow in accordance with the revealed Word implanted in us by the Spirit” (p. 5). “It is the very nature of language to form rather than inform. When language is personal, which it is at its best, it reveals; and revelation is always formative—we don’t know more, we become more.” (p. 7). “Exegesis is foundational to Christian spirituality.” (p. 9). “Exegesis is loving God enough to stop and listen carefully.” (p. 10). “Scripture is the revelation of a world that is vast, far larger than the sin-stunted, self-constricted world that we construct for ourselves out of a garage-sale assemblage of texts” (p. 12).

For us to feed on Scripture, Peterson says, we must understand that Scripture is God’s revelation to us. Scripture is our text and our form. This revelation is not just informational but formational. The Word must not be merely studied technically but it must be assimilated into our very beings. Likewise, the “meta-narrative” of Scripture is the story about Jesus and the form for us to follow Him.

Peterson’s challenge to return to reading and doing the Word is one to be heeded. If God’s revelation of Himself to us is not our only basis of trust and life, then we will have a flawed and ultimately destructive manner of life. In an absolute sense, only God’s revelation of Himself is true. Therefore, if we remake the Scriptures to fit our preconceived ideas, is it any wonder that we will only end up deceiving ourselves and others?

Pin It
Page 1 of 212

Tags: , , ,

Category: Biblical Studies, Winter 2000

About the Author: Raul L. Mock is one of the founders and directors of the Pneuma Foundation and editor of The Pneuma Review. Raul has been part of an Evangelical publishing ministry since 1996, working with Information Services and Supply Chain Management for more than two decades. He and his wife, Erin, have a daughter and twin boys and live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. LinkedIn

  • Connect with

    Subscribe via Twitter Followers   Subscribe via Facebook Fans
  • Recent Comments

  • Featured Authors

    Amos Yong is Professor of Theology & Mission and director of the Center for Missiological Research at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. His graduate education includes degree...

    Jelle Creemers: Theological Dialogue with Classical Pentecostals

    Antipas L. Harris, D.Min. (Boston University), S.T.M. (Yale University Divinity School), M.Div. (Emory University), is the president-dean of Jakes Divinity School and associate pasto...

    Invitation: Stories about transformation

    Craig S. Keener, Ph.D. (Duke University), is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is author of many books<...

    Studies in Acts

    Daniel A. Brown, PhD, planted The Coastlands, a church near Santa Cruz, California, serving as Senior Pastor for 22 years. Daniel has authored four books and numerous articles, but h...

    Will I Still Be Me After Death?