We are spending time in my Sunday class talking about relating more closely to the words and stories in the Bible. Last week we did a bit of imagination as we read one of the stories of the gospels. This week is lectio divina (spiritual reading) and next week will be the importance of study (Foster actually calls it a discipline).
What I have tried to stress is the difference between just reading the words with getting deeply into the words and ideas so that they can bond our relationship with God. William of St. Therry said that the difference between attentive reading and mere reading is the same in warm friendship and a passing acquaintance.
Yes, I know Chris (Fajita) Re: his blog about knowing God outside the Word--there are many ways to know God outside the word. I think I agree with Calvin who said that it is in the Word where God is truly and vividly descibed to us.
Madeline L'Engle has a wonderful story in her book The Rock That is Higher; Story as Truth which will illustrate:
After dinner at house parties which L'Engle attended, people would ofen give recitations, sing songs or otherwise entertain the other guests. One year a famous actor was among the guests. When it came his time to perform, he recited the 23rd Psalm. His rendition was magnificent and there was much applause. At the end of the evening, someone noticed a little old great aunt dozing in the corner. She was deaf as a post and had missed most of what was going on, but she was urged to get up and recite something. In those days people used to memorize a lot of poetry! So she stood up and in her old, quivery voice, she started, "The Lord is my shepherd....and went on to the end of the psalm. When she finished, there were tears in many eyes. Later one of the guests approached the famous actor. "You recited that psalm absolutely superbly. It was incomparable. So why were we so moved by the little old lady?" The actor replied, "I know the psalm. She knows the shepherd."