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Was emotion removed from the Bible? 415. Nov 11, 2022.



I'm on a brief holiday in the Grampians, Victoria. Presently under the van awning in the rain, obviously with too much time on my hands. Today I want to propose a concept that emphasises the importance of the Holy Spirit as the writers wrote the Bible. These are merely thoughts, so don't book me into the psych ward.

Have you ever noticed when reading the Bible that except for Psalms with its passion and James with his notes on lust, it's pretty well void of emotional imagery?

David's Psalms are so emotionally articulate we can't help feeling his pain during a trial or exuberance as he expresses love for his Lord. We wish we could be so unashamedly expressive. And James articulates lust so well that we cannot mistake it. But much of the Bible seems to be written in a way that de-emphasises feelings. The descriptions and sentiment are there, but there is no emotional relationship for the unspiritual. It's as if God has disengaged emotion from the writings to ensure readers don't mistake it for the moving of the Holy Spirit. As if the Holy Spirit is the sole key to bringing those words to life.

For instance, Job lost his family, vast fortune, and friends, but as we read of that loss and his subsequent physical trials, we have to imagine the pain, heartache, and strain. The Bible doesn't create that image for us, as a New York Times best-seller would. The main ingredient of a storybook is the emotional connection to the reader. We need to feel what the characters are feeling. Cry when they cry, laugh when they laugh, etc. A writer draws our hearts through every line.

Though the Bible describes situations, conversations, wars, prophecies, instructions, the penalties and love of God, and the preciousness of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Still, it does not drive down into the deep emotional attachments we find in novels.

For instance, a good book can extract tears, fear, love and anything else from most hearts. But the Bible makes few inroads to those not on a faith journey walking towards God. Sections might resonate as a good story but won't drive home the essence of a specific scriptural passage. It is not an emotional book, but spiritual.

The divine influence may be why non-Christians get little from reading the Bible unless led by the Lord. And this is the importance of the Holy Spirit concerning the Bible. Being baptised in the Holy Spirit, we cannot estrange ourselves from the spiritual connection and fervour within the passages. In fact, we find most of the Bible can have us in tears, even inducing heart pains and deep yearnings because we're so at one with scripture. Not so for the non-spiritual reader. Unless they are on a faith journey, there is nothing for them.

I see it as being like the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23). The sower threw his seed everywhere. However, some seed was removed by birds before it took root; other seed fell in the soil between rocky crags and grew for a while, then died, while others fell among thorns and developed for a time but were choked by the world's offerings. The good seed found deep soil and commenced its spiritual journey.

Likewise, anyone can read the Bible, but it only means something to certain people. It will only rend the heart of one whom the Holy Spirit has touched.

As I said, just musings.


Dear Lord, thank you again for your wonderful book of the history and future of the nations and particularly your people. Thank you for the indwelling of your Holy Spirit and the direct accord with your Bible as if it is an indelible part of me.

Photo by Jon Tyson


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