The problem with being “grown up”


Reading: Psalm 109

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much;
preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage for ever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end.


Augustine does not tell us whether the Bible was recommended to him or whether his reading began of his own initiative or the influence of childhood conversations with his Christian mother. What we do know is that he approached the Scriptures with the same attitude as the other works he studied up to that point—that is, more as a teacher than a student. He was therefore deeply disappointed with both the content and the form of the Scriptures. They were too enigmatic for him, and the style fell short of the refined elegance of classical texts.


"My approach then was quite different from the one I am suggesting now: when I studied the Bible and compared it with Cicero’s dignified prose, it seem to me unworthy. My swollen pride recoiled from its style and my intelligence failed to penetrate to its inner meaning. Scripture is a reality that grows along with little children, but I disdained to be a little child and in my high and mighty arrogance regarded myself as grown-up."

Augustine’s pride and arrogance prevented him from being the student of the Bible’s Author.  Augustine lacked a child’s attitude when reading or listening to God’s inspired words and so drew no spiritually profit from them. Various forms of pride, sometimes very sophisticated, can drown out the child of God in our souls.

Lord, may we ponder on the word of God, rediscover our spiritual childhood, and through that come closer to you. Amen.