How Reading the Bible Shapes Our Identity

Rewiring Our Self-Understanding

We often talk about Scripture as God’s self-revelation. But if every revelation of God is a revelation of myself in relation to God, then all of Scripture is continually in the business of rewiring our self-understanding.

Here are two examples that are particularly stunning and lovely: the Psalms and Ephesians.

The Psalms are one sustained portrayal and expression of an identity that is small before a God whom I both need mercy and refuge from, and a God who is great and worthy of all praise, adoration, and love. The Psalms never explicitly say, “Here’s an identity rejig.” But the whole book of Psalms rejigs your identity—every psalm, every prayer, every hymn of worship.

But my favorite “identity” book is Ephesians. Depending on how you understand the nature of what each sentence says about who you are, there are about fifty different identity statements in Ephesians. Every single one of them connects you to God. If he is Father, I am son. If he is the Holy One, I am a saint. If he is the one who indwells the temple, then I am part of that temple. If he is the possessor who is giving an inheritance to his children, then I am an heir owned by the one whom I will inherit from.

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