An Introduction to the Practice of Scripture Amplification

Greetings friends…

I’m excited to share with you today’s blog post subject: The Practice of Scripture Amplification.

Scripture Amplification is a way of expanding out a portion of Scripture in a way that feels meaningful while still remaining faithful to who God is and to the contextual messages of the original text. The Amplified Bible is a wonderful compilation of just such a practice. This practice is not intended to be a rewriting of Scripture, as though the amplification–or “expanded rendering”–could be deemed a new version or translation of Holy Writ. By no means. For me, it’s become a contemplative and prayerfully iterative practice of writing out an expanded understanding of a text in a manner that feels intensely meaningful while still remaining faithful to the Holy Bible’s literary, cultural, and theological contexts.

By literary context, I’m referring to the paragraph in which the verse or passage is found; the larger passage in which it’s found; the overall book, letter, story, or poem in which it’s found; and the Testament in which it’s found. In my work, I often use an author’s other biblical writings, as well as other authors’ biblical writings, to inform the text I’m closely reading. I also use the Old Testament to unlock the New, and vice versus.

By cultural context, I’m referring to the fact that the verse or passage in question is part of a greater work that was crafted at a particular time, in a particular place, by a particular person, for a particular reason (or set of reasons), for a particular group of people, who also lived in a particular time and place. Reminding myself of these actualities reinforces the fact that the original writer wrote (and the original readers read) from the context of a very particular cultural history and life-perspective. In closely reading a verse or passage, I do my best to not divorce what I’m reading from the person who wrote it or from the people to whom or for whom it was written.

By theological context, I’m referring primarily to who God is, to who we are, and to how God and we relate lovingly, generatively, and sometimes adversarially to each other.

Most of the expanded renderings I create are derived directly from the Bible.

For the rest of this post, I’d like to spend a little time on Ps 46:10, which, in the NIV, reads as follows: “Be still, and know that I AM God.” Today, I’m going to share the results of my amplification work on this verse as well as some of the meditative practices that can flow from that work. During a future podcast episode, I’d like to you through the meditation during a time of soaking prayer.

And now… here’s my meditation on Ps 46:10…

The Text: Ps 46:10 (NIV): “Be still, and know that I AM God.”

Expanded Rendering:

Be at rest, and cherish the Golden Stillness and Silence that I AM (see Note 1).

I AM the Stillness within your soul; the Reality beyond all words, all thoughts, all concepts. Rest in Me, and be mended and healed. Discover that I AM your dearest and closest Friend.

While I AM the Almighty and Transcendent One, I AM immanently closer to you than you realize. I know your every thought, and I feel your every emotion. I know your dreams, and I know all that haunts you. I’ve been there through every experience: Every disappointment, every triumph, every loss. I know the highs and lows and everything in between. I occupy and animate every cell in your body, and My Presence courses though your every vein. My Spirit is your breath (see Note 2), and I AM the life in your blood (see Note 3). I AM–continually and continuously, without end–uttering and breathing you into enduring vitality. The silent, yet extraordinary, communion occurring within your DNA is orchestrated by Me.

I AM the Friend who sticks closer to you than a brother or a sister (see Note 4). I AM also the One who calls to you from the stillness and silence–your first language. Know and feel Me in the quietness of your soul. Experience Me as that very Quietness… that Space and Place that resides far above, below, and beyond the regular comings and goings of your day. Be still, and come away with Me. Know Me as Your Eternal Friend and Fierce Lover; and experience what it feels like to be known thoroughly (see Note 5) and loved through and through by Me, Almighty God (see Note 6).

Consecrating Prayer:

Holy Trinity…

I choose Your rest today.

And, in the silence of my heart, I surrender to the warming and comforting light of Your ever-giving, ever-enfolding Love and Kindness and the cooling and refreshing shadows (see Note 7) of Your ever-invigorating, never-ending Life and Presence. Know me, O God, as only You can (see Note 8); and in my experiencing Your knowing of me, may I sense and feel Your Presence in a way that touches me in that place that knows the unknowable without being able to say so, that experiences the ineffable without being able to comment upon it.

In the Name of Jesus, Yahweh-nissi–the Eternal Name of Existence and Banner of Redeeming and Repatriating Love–H-he Who Sings and Dances Over Me (see Note 9), I ask and declare all these things and no-things [life-giving expressions, generative creations.].

Amen, and AMEN!! O God… MAY IT ALL BE SO!!

Notes:

See Ex 3:14.
See Ge 2:7.
See Le 17:11.
See Pr 18:24.
See Ps 139.
See Je 31:3 and He 12:28-29.
See Ps 17:8 and 63:7.
See Ps 139:23.
See Ex 17:15; SS 2:4; and Ze 3:17.

Mantric Recitation (the first part):

As you breathe in, say with your mind (or speak under your breath): “Be still and know…”

And as you breathe out, say with your mind (or speak under your breath): “I AM…”

Be still and know… I AM…

Be still and know… I AM…

Mantric Recitation (the second part):

As you breathe in, say with your mind (or speak under your breath): “Be still and become…”

And as you breathe out, say with your mind (or speak under your breath): “Love and Presence like Me…”

Be still and become… Love and Presence like Me…

Be still and become… Love and Presence like Me…

Mantric Recitation (both parts integrated):

Be still and know… I AM… Be still and become… Love and Presence like Me…

Be still and know… I AM… Be still and become… Love and Presence like Me…

Be still and know… I AM… Be still and become… Love and Presence like Me…

Just continue in this recitation for a minute or so…

Today’s MRL Maxim: God loves to hide in between the very lines of Scripture. Go, and find Him there.

Today’s MRL Call-to-action: Take a stab, this week, at writing out an expanded rendering of one of your favorite verses of Scripture. Even though I didn’t really go into it today, when I do amplification work, I read the text in multiple versions and translations; I enlist the help of the English Dictionary and Thesaurus; and I dive into Biblehub, an online website that enables me to access the original language in which each verse of Scripture was written. As with everything, have fun with this practice. As I’m oft to say and write, having fun is 51% of the point of doing anything in life.

God’s peace to you…

Dave