B is for Bibliomancy

BHere’s another thing that I didn’t realise was an actual thing. Bibliomancy

The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms says that Bibliomancy is: the practice of opening the Bible at random and seeking guidance through the first verse one sees. In quite a few sources it’s described as ‘divination by means of a book.’

When I was a new Christian, it took a while for me to grasp what the Bible was and wasn’t. So I often did let it fall open on a page and read a verse to see if I could get a lightning quick response to a question. I don’t think I ever landed on anything that made sense to my particular query. Over time. I found that reading, understanding and listening to the Word of God gave insight into situations and comfort in times of trouble. Doing an ‘eenie, meenie, miney mo’ never did anything for me.

In my search about this term I found that, though it dates back to ancient Greece, it’s still a common practice. It all sounds a bit magic 8 ball-ish to me. And it’s poor use of a fabulous resource. Like preparing and firing up a space shuttle to get to the local shop for a pint of milk. It was built for so much more.

I believe the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12); and so it has to be handled carefully. I love having scripture verses on fridge magnets and on the pages of notebooks; but individual random verses can be and often are taken out of context. If the Bible is a rocket, then fly me to the moon 🙂

11 thoughts on “B is for Bibliomancy

  1. I’ve read about this before and with other books as well. In fact, I’ve just finished reading Cold Mountain and the character Inman does something similar with a book he acquires.

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge. 😉

    Cait @ Click’s Clan

  2. One of my favorite things about the church that I attend is that our pastor teaches through the Bible, verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter. It makes so much more sense when you read things in context and get the fullness of what was being written. Sure there are times when I just open and read a random verse or chapter (esp. the Psalms), but I love truly studying the Bible in order to understand it more fully. Great post!

  3. Arlee Bird

    Never knew a name for this, but I’ll have to admit to having done this. Often when I hear a verse quoted to illustrate a point I’ll go to the Bible to consider the verse within context and sure enough there’s more to the story than someone was trying to make with the verse alone.

    I recall hearing a funny joke about this practice, but me being so lousy at remembering jokes I can’t remember it. I’ll bet you know it.

    Like Paige’s church, our pastor does the verse by verse thing in sermons plus this is how we approach our Bible studies. It can take a while, but at least you get the whole picture.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. Arlee! I’m honoured that the man himself has visited my blog during A to Z. What a fab thing you’ve created 🙂
      I’m the same about individual verses, I always like to read around them to see the context.
      Have a great A to Z Arlee xx

  4. Mare

    hello! Popping in from the a-z. I love finding other believers in the blogosphere! I think women who profess God’s love and mercy can change the world! Come visit me, if you’d like

    1. Hi Mare. appreciate the encouragement. Thanks for popping over. I’m doing lots of catch up reading tomorrow – will definitely pop over to see how your AtoZ is doing.

  5. The magic 8 ballish school of Bible interpretation? I shouldn’t laugh, auntyamo, but you’ve nailed it—this word picture is just so great. I blush to admit that I too have tried this (in God-is-my-genie moments).

    Great post! Happy A to Z!


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