Tag Archives: God’s will

The Bible as a Magic Text

Lately, I’ve become convinced that modern Evangelicalism/fundamentalism uses the Bible as a magic text.

For instance, the concept of “praying the Bible” and “singing Scripture” as the forms of prayer and worship that God finds most acceptable. In this practice, the believer takes his/her sacred book (i.e. the Bible), and, on account of its sacredness (it is often believed to be the very words of God), believes it to have some sort of special efficacy in bringing about divine action or currying divine favor.

Another example is using the Bible as an augur, divining from it “God’s will for your life.” Of course, a subset of Evangelicals (often the Neo-Reformed) denies the validity of this practice; however, so far as I’ve seen, a great many Evangelicals use the Bible in this way. In this practice, the practitioner, when faced with a decision, uses the Bible to learn what is the divinely sanctioned choice, in order to avoid being “out of God’s will.

I’m interested in reading scholarly engagement with this idea, which I’ve been unable to find. Can anyone recommend any sources? I’m specifically interested in sociological or “religious studies” discussions, rather than theological debate.

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