North American evangelical Christians live in a culture that doesn’t encourage the use of imagination in our spiritual lives. This is changing as more churches begin using drama, dance and an array of music and other art forms which all engage the imagination. But the current “intellectual” approach has deprived us of a powerful tool that God has placed in us for knowing and worshipping Him. Using imagination to experience a Biblical story is a method first developed by Ignatius of Loyola. He encouraged his friends to imagine what they would see, hear, smell, touch or taste if they had been present in the Biblical scene.

The title “Imaginative Entry into Scripture” gives away the heart of this approach to meditation. We use our imagination to insert ourselves into the story. An easy way is to imagine that we are one of the characters in the story. Then follow Ignatius’ suggestions to “see, hear . . .” the story as that character. It is possible to be even more creative. For example, one might imagine what it is to be the storyteller or the recipient listening to the story in the ancient context, or a bystander observing the scene. It should be noted that this approach is most effective when the passage is a narrative with characters and interaction.

Mike: When I am introducing groups of people to “imaginative entry”, I often use the passage John 21:1-14. At times I have imagined myself as Peter and other times as John, Jesus, one of the other disciples or someone on the shore witnessing this all. Each time, God has seemed to have something a little different that He wants to say to me. One participant shared with me that God was calling her to make a change in her actions—to fish on the other side of the boat. Another heard God saying it was time he jumped into the water of life. The possibilities for the way God can use this passage to speak to your situation are endless.


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