In Engaging Scripture, Michael Birkel invites readers into the meditative way early Friends read the Bible through a close study of early Quaker writings. His own experience encourages contemporary readers to enter scripture through this contemplative Quaker approach, which-like the ancient practice of lectio divina-challenges the reader to be not only informed, but transformed.
Michael Birkel teases out the numerous Biblical allusions in the writing of Fox and other early Friends, and points to the inspired connections that they drew between widely dispersed portions of Scripture. The cumulative effect could be very powerful, especially in the Scripture-saturated culture of seventeenth-century England. Birkel asks whether twenty-first century Friends could recapture this aspect of early Quaker culture. We have far less Scripture committed to memory than did they, but Birkel offers a “Meeting for Reading” as a way to get at the power of the Biblical immersion that formed the writings of early Friends.