Is the Bible a Hotline to God?


#1

I have both Catholic and Protestant friends whom I’ve seen randomly open the Bible believing that God would directly talk to them on that particular page. I’ve heard them say, “Just open the Bible and God will give you the answer.”

I ‘d don’t necessarily dispute what they’re saying. Indeed, the Lord moves in mysterious ways. But I have had the thought that perhaps this is reducing the Bible to a mere instrument of divination, a Magic 8-Ball of sorts. What do you think about the practice? Should the Holy Scriptures be used in this manner?

image


#2

I’m sure it’s entirely possible that God does this sometimes, but I definitely don’t think it’s one of those things that we command. You won’t get an answer every time you open the Bible. Because we’re not the ones who are in charge of that. God is. If He wants to give us an answer plain as day, He will. We don’t decide when that happens.


#3

A long suffering priest once held up a Bible and said something to the effect of - this is a book, what it contains/evokes is the word of God; but the paper, the binding, the ink, make it just a book, a material object.

Taking that to heart, it would seem that the practice you’re describing would be divination.


#4

Since the bible was written in, by, for, and canonized by the Catholic Church, it is an important and indispensable instrument. Just as the Catholic Church, established by Jesus on Peter and those in union with him, is an important and indispensable instrument. Point being, since neither is alone, BOTH then are important and indispensable as a hotline to God :sunglasses:


#5

I know when that hotline bling
That means that the angels sing


#6

My former spiritual director advised me against randomly opening the Bible to a random page. Instead, he instructed to me to systematically read the Bible from the start of a book and slowly read a few passages at a time and pray over and ponder what the passages are saying.

When following his advise, I OFTEN found that the Bible was speaking to me.

The Monsignor never went into specifics regarding why he didn’t like the random opening of the Bible, but I believe it may have something to do with your “instrument of divination” idea, however, it almost might simply be the fact that each Letter / Book was intended to read it their entirety at once; not to cherry pick verses.

God Bless


#7

From the Catholic Encyclopedia article on “Divination”:

A canon (xxxvi) of Orléans 511) excommunicates those who practised divination auguries, or lots falsely called Sortes Sanctorum (Bibliorum), i.e. deciding one’s future conduct by the first passage found on opening a Bible. This method was evidently a great favourite, as a synod of Vannes (c. xvi) in 461 held forbidden it to clerics under pain of excommunication, and that of Agde (c. xlii) in 506 condemned it as against piety and faith.


#8

How do you feel about the practice I describe?


#9

A most excellent post!


#10

That is a superstitious belief.


#11

Very true. I have wondered also if the random reading practice does not reinforce the already tempting habit to take verses out of context and to misunderstand them. I knew a Pentecostal Holiness Church member once who was aghast when I told her that the Catholic Church has a Lectionary and three year cycle of readings. She said, “But doesn’t that stifle the Holy Spirit? Our pastor selects the readings minute by minute during our services… according to what the Lord puts on his heart.” I responded by saying, "No, the cycle or readings doesn’t ‘stifle the Spirit,’ it ensures we hear the whole message over time."


#12

As in

“reducing the Bible to a mere instrument of divination, a Magic 8-Ball of sorts.” ?

We know THAT doesn’t happen. 40, 000 + competing sects of Protestantism all thinking THEY and THEIR interpretation of scripture is correct, pretty much collapses that argument.


#13

I’ll do that to find a good place to start Lectio, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend someone just open up to a random verse in hopes of finding the answer to a question of theirs.


#14

St. Augustine did something like this once.


#15

I don’t like the new translation of the Magic 8-Ball. They’ve changed all of the wording on the triangles. The older one, in my opinion, is the only true Magic 8-Ball. In fact, I simple refuse to associate with people who use the New Magic 8-Ball. :sunglasses:


#16

Many, many times I have randomly opened my Bible and found the verses/chapters to be applicable to my current life situation, but then the New Testament is about Christ’s teaching - and they are always applicable. What I find helpful is a topical index or concordance. If I am feeling anxious - read… If I’m feeling defeated, read… So, in this sense, the Bible can be a hotline as it directs you to the teachings of Christ. It is then up to us to put those teaching to practice.


#17

Darnit…

So what ahout this. I am under the belief the holy spirit has directed me. In so doing, I’ll awake at a certain time or walk into a room with a certain time and look up the corresponding bible passage.

Is that ok? It usually does apply to my most pressing situation as guidance and I view it as from God.


#18

It’s ok with me if its ok with you. :sunglasses:


#19

I’ve also had that experience. A pastor I knew used to say, “The Scriptures are inexhaustible because the are the LIVING Word of God. They present you with something fresh and new each time you return to them.”


#20

Well, I guess the point would be if my example is divination or not. I have been asking for the holy spirits guidance, how to discern this?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.