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Thomas Merton: Opening the Bible Paperback – December 1, 1970
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A short but profound presentation of the demands and purposes of God's Word, it is written with such effective technique that the reader will be impelled to further study of the Bible.
About the Author
Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Catholic convert, Cistercian monk and hermit, poet, contemplative, social critic, and pioneer of interreligious dialogue, was a seminal figure of twentieth-century American Christianity.
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In the scope of Merton's writing, it is easy to overlook this one. In nature, this essay presents a series of open ended questions but never gives a defintive answer. Like the Bible, "Opening the Bible" will not give an easy answer to the questions of life. The stated purpose of the book is to answer broad questions and problems about the bible itself. The book will not tell the reader where to find his/her personal answers. "... One does not go from answer to answer, but from question to question."
While I felt Merton could have went further than he did in this essay, I appreciate the fact that he discusses the Bible in the perspective of modern life. References artists and writers of modern time give Merton's arguements a sense of realism.
Merton wholehearedly accepts that fact that the Bible can be shocking, boring, questioning, and tedious. But at the same time he doesn't want us to simply disregard that which doesn't make sense to us in one momentary reading. Instead he wants us to accept the Bible in its wholeness even though we may not understand all of it at once.
He further asserts that "the Bible is a 'worldly' book in the sense that it sees God at the very center of man's life, his work, his relations with his fellow man, his love of his wife and children, his play and his joy." He continually reiterates that the central message in the Bible is one of unity, reconciliation and wholeness.
Altogether, this outstanding book can help open your mind and give you a proper frame of reference for reading the Bible.