AM writes: “My friends make fun of me for playing ‘bible roulette’ but I’ve sometimes received very appropriate answers to my questions. What’s wrong with it?”
Bible roulette is not the best way to read the bible, but let’s face it, we’ve all played it at one time or another. I tend to do it when I’m feeling down about something and need a “quick fix” or just want to know God’s “read” on something that is going on in my life. However, I only do this when I’m in a hurry. When I have more time, I much prefer the use of a concordance for this purpose, or will just google a subject such as “Scripture trust in God” and then read all the verses pertaining to that subject. This has been much more helpful to me than Bible roulette.
The reason why it’s not recommended is that the bible wasn’t meant to be read this way. As this article appearing on Catholicbiblepress.com explains, “Here’s the thing: the Bible shouldn’t be thought of as just one book. It’s really more of a library. Some books are allegorical, some are journalistic accounts, some are ancient songs. It’s important to know what you’re reading so that you can properly understand the intent behind the words.”
Philip Kosloski, writing for Aleteia, agrees. “Playing ‘Bible Roulette’ won’t do much for you, if you’re serious about reading scripture. We have all done it, of course — we’ve opened the book to a random page to ‘see what God has to say’ to us. This practice may have had limited success with certain saints, but with this method the Bible will still remain a mystery to the modern Catholic; it won’t illuminate the rest of salvation history.”
Those who engage in this practice should also be careful not to allow this practice to digress into what’s known as bibliomancy, which is to make the Bible into a divination tool.
As this site explains: “Bibliomancy is one of many divination practices found around the world, and involves the use of books—typically sacred texts—as a method to foretell the future and find guidance. There are many different techniques of bibliomancy that can be used, and a practitioner’s own belief system often informs the way in which results are interpreted.”
Author, Patti Witington, who refers to herself as a pagan High Priestess, goes on to explain that some people believe an old family bible, especially one inscribed with birth and death rates, is especially powerful when used in bibliomancy with the Book of Psalms being a favorite.
“…[M]any practitioners of African traditional religions and hoodoo keep a copy at hand to use for inspiration and divinatory wisdom. In some spiritual systems, bibliomancy is also used as a way of removing negative entities. Specific passages in the Bible and the Koran are associated with the expulsion of demons.”
Obviously, this is not the way to use a bible. It’s always best to use this sacred book in the way it was intended – to learn about God as He revealed Himself to us so that this knowledge can lead us into an ever deeper union with Him.
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