Spiritual Pride and Reading the Gospels Well

John Starke | December 28, 2015


We are, by nature, sloppy readers. The problem is not fixed by practice. I’m not talking about bad readers who need to become better readers, and therefore should practice by reading more. Practice might actually make it worse. In fact, I’m sure it would.

What I mean by “sloppy reading” is that often I come to a text of Scripture thinking I’m reading in order to be informed about how I might believe and live, but actually I’m coming to Scripture for affirmation of what I already believe and how I already live. And so, I’m a sloppy reader who’s likely blind to my sloppiness. And it’s likely you are too.

Disastrous First Step

Here’s an example: I was reading the story of Jesus calling Matthew, the tax collector, as one of his disciples and afterward “reclining” with Matthew’s tax collector friends. The Pharisees thought this out of bounds for Jesus and rebuked his disciples for it. He responds: 

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. (Matt. 9:12–13)

Now, if you look at my notes after meditating on…


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