“I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus.”- Luke 1:3
Recently, I have been grappling with getting restarted on writing my book. I have attempted to capture my conversion story several times over the last couple of years but to no avail. Word count is not a problem, the number of pages is not a problem, and writer’s block is not even the problem. The problem is trying to tell a story that happened over a lifetime, and all at once.
I have never approached the bible by reading it from a writer’s perspective, but rather from a mystical one. I love looking at various translations of words, meanings behind meanings, and sitting silently so that the Holy Spirit can speak to me. Even in all of today’s readings, God is speaking to us about scripture, its importance, and how it moves people to tears. We learn that scripture has the power to change lives and hearts.
But funny enough, those were not the words that moved my heart today. What moved my heart were Luke’s words as a writer, why he wrote these things down, and how he decided to do it.
Could this be a blueprint for the rest of us on divine problem-solving?
I thought about my book, the overwhelming nature of it, and starting again, for the umpteenth time. Then I thought of Luke’s words, looking at things “anew” and “writing them down in an orderly sequence.” This gave me a great sense of peace, a pathway if you will to divine writing. I wondered, had this been there all along?
I am so quick to be able to counsel someone on their problems but so terrible in taking my own advice. How easy Luke makes it for us today to remember how to approach that thing in front of us that we just can’t seem to resolve.
Today, if you are struggling with a problem, follow Luke’s advice:
Investigate everything accurately anew and write it down in an orderly sequence
This will give you pause, perspective, and peace.
"I have never approached the bible by reading it from a writer’s perspective."
My undergraduate being in History and my Master's in Theology-Sacred Scripture, I find myself constantly searching for 'what did the author mean..." In some sense, the question is founded on the question, "how did the author think?"
The other day I was reading an article from "The Biblical Archaeological Review." The writer was a professor of historical, philosophical, and religious studies. The thesis of the author was more or less using Galatians and mostly Romans, "St. Paul was part of a cosmopolitan class (of elites) who desired to break down the traditional establishments of the traditional because of the class' sophisticated culture in the Greco-Roman period."
While reading the article I thought, "How strangely modern St. Paul was..."
And that's the point and the danger of any analysis of biblical, ancient, or various historical periods; the danger is not to read our own bias into another period's writers--to make them say something that would be totally foreign.
By the conclusion of the article, the author had argued that St. Paul was really against the institution of marriage, so modern society by way of this new Christian understanding should get rid of this archaic institution.
There are a lot of issues with this conclusion. I'll only address one here and that is the author I would imagine is not part of the faithful, or at the very least, she does not subscribe to the supernatural faith. (And that's not to mention that the author whiffs on 1 Cor. Body of Christ literary device and St. Paul also telling people to get married, if they couldn't stop themselves from sinning, but I digress)
In your example, St. Luke is the author, and in my example here St. Paul is the writer, but first and foremost the principal author of Sacred Scripture is the Holy Spirit. So, there must be a canonical analysis of the text with the entirety of the canon of Sacred Scripture. So, when you say look at something "anew," what does that mean in the context of the Bible as a whole?
Naturally, "anew" makes me thing of the ending of the Book of Revelation:
5 The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me, “They are accomplished. I [am] the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. Rev. 21:5–6.
Here is water/fountain imagery and thirsty quenching imagery. What does this mean from a writer's perspective? The literature of Israel is very rich by both sharing and being distinct from its Near Eastern neighbors. In the ancient Near East, the idea of water and fountains are related to Wisdom. In fact, Jesus takes on the persona of Wisdom through his Incarnation in the prologue of John's Gospel, the great Cathedral at Constantinople would be named after this very idea, Hagia Sophia.
It also fleshes out and reveals other aspects of the other gospels when it comes to the writer's perspective.
What about Matthew 11:28-30, how are we to understand 'anew' through Christ's words here?
28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Mt 11:28–30.