How often do those of us who are Christians stop to think about the place of imagination in reading the Bible? Among big ideas like exegesis and hermeneutics, where does imagination fit in? With most books, it’s unremarkable to say that we need imagination to read them well. But Christians sometimes get nervous about imagination and the Bible. Doesn’t using our imaginations mean we’re going to be making up a lot of stuff in our heads that isn’t actually there in the text? Isn’t imagination the pathway to fanciful speculation, even to false teaching and heresy?
But when the Bible calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (see Rom. 12:2), it isn’t just talking about mind in a narrow sense of the intellect. The Bible has an integrated view of the human heart, which encompasses not only what we think and believe but also how we feel, imagine, and desire. What’s more, imagination helps us steal past what C. S. Lewis called the “watchful dragons” of overfamiliarity and the sense of obligation to feel the “right” responses to the Bible that can freeze feelings. Let’s explore the place that imagination plays in engaging with the Bible.
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Caleb Woodbridge about his online-exclusive article, “Stealing past watchful dragons-How Reading the Bible Imaginatively Helps Bypass Our Overfamiliarity ”
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