“We live in an age of distraction. Apparently, the average long-term attention span is only 5 minutes. The average short-term attention span is only 8 seconds due to the influence of social media. Constant skimming content online means that we can struggle to read books closely. Yet the most important subjects require extended attention span. With this we must disengage from distractions to give exclusive attention to something. Nothing is more significant for the good of our soul than sustained attention. Scripture emphasises this constantly.”
When you are reading a book in a dark room, and find it difficult, you take it to a window to get more light. So take your Bible to Christ.
— Robert Murray M’Cheyne
Question: “What is bibliomancy?”
Answer: Bibliomancy is the practice of divination by means of a book. Generally speaking, bibliomancy involves turning to a random page in a sacred book in order to find the answer to a question posed. In ancient times, the works of Homer and Virgil were used. Now, bibliomancy often refers to fortune-telling by means of the Bible. But, by no means is the Bible the only book sometimes used in bibliomancy. Other books sometimes used are the I Ching, the Mahabharata, and the Qur’an. The process of bibliomancy involves asking a clear question, opening the book to a random page, and trailing a finger in slow circles until “the spirit” says to stop. The verse where the questioner’s finger points supposedly contains the answer.
The story is told of a man who wanted to find out what God had for his future, so he closed his eyes, opened the Bible randomly, and stuck his finger on the page. He opened his eyes and read Matthew 27:5, “Judas . . . went away and hanged himself.” Not liking that answer, the man tried again. This time, his finger landed on Luke 10:37, “Go and do likewise.” Again, not liking that answer, the man tried again. This time his finger landed on John 13:27, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”
All joking aside, bibliomancy is not biblical. God’s Word condemns all forms of divination in no uncertain terms (Deuteronomy 18:10; Acts 16:16-19). Occult practices are not made less evil simply because the Bible is being used in the process. Yes, God speaks to us through His Word. Yes, God leads us to specific Bible verses that will speak to us in a time of need. Yes, God sometimes causes us to stumble on a verse at precisely the time we need the message the verse contains. But God’s Word was meant to be studied, understood, and applied. We are to study God’s Word intentionally, not randomly. Ours is a reasonable faith, not one based on esoteric interpretations of random verses. Our wisdom comes from God (James 1:5).
The Reformed Mind quotes Calvin, who “placed philosophy in the service of theology, which is the only role it may play in the intellectual life of the believer. He placed Athens in the service of Jerusalem:”
“Now this power which is peculiar to Scripture is clear from the fact that of human writings, however artfully polished, there is none capable of affecting us at all comparably. Read Demosthenes or Cicero; read Plato, Aristotle or any other of that class. You will, I admit, feel wonderfully allured, delighted, moved, enchanted. But turn from them to the reading of the sacred volume and whether you will it or not, it will so powerfully affect you, so pierce your heart, so work its way into your very marrow, that compared with the impression so produced, the power of the orators and philosophers will almost disappear; making it clear that the Holy Scriptures breathe something divine, which lifts them far above all the gifts and graces of human industry.”
When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.
~ Erasmus ~
Matthew Henry on Luke 18:31-34:
“Note, therefore it is that people run into mistakes, because they read their Bibles by the halves, and are as partial in the prophets as they are in the law. They are only for the smooth things, Isa. 30:10. Thus now we are too apt, in reading the prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled, to have our expectations raised of the glorious state of the church in the latter days. But we overlook its wilderness sackcloth state, and are willing to fancy that is over, and nothing is reserved for us but the halcyon days; and then, when tribulation and persecution arise, we do not understand it, neither know we the things that are done, though we are told as plainly as can be that through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.”
Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures:
“Every verse beginning with the word “For” requires us to trace the connection: usually it has the force of “because,” supplying proof of a preceding statement. Likewise the expression “For this cause” and words like “wherefore and therefore” call for close attention, so that we may have before us the promise from which the conclusion is drawn. The widespread misunderstanding of 2 Corinthians 5:17, supplies an example of what happens when there is carelessness at this point. Nine times out of ten its opening “Therefore” is not quoted, and through failure to understand its meaning an entirely wrong sense is given to “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” That prefatory “therefore” indicates that this verse is not to he considered as a thing apart, complete in itself, but rather as closely connected with something foregoing. On turning back to the previous verse we find it too begins with the word “wherefore,” which at once shows that this passage is a didactic or doctrinal one, and neither a biographical one which delineates the experience of the soul nor a hortatory one calling unto the performance of some duty.”