Chapters 11 & 12
Chapters 11 & 12 E-mail

Reflections on the Psalms

            Chapter 10 on "Second Meanings" laid the foundation.  Now Lewis turns to the Bible and considers second meanings in that context.  Did God divinely inspire human writers of Scripture to have their words carry additional layers of meaning of which they may or may not have been aware?  This chapter has the potential for controversy and is the section to which Lewis alluded in the last paragraph of his introduction.

Chapter 11-Scripture 

1.  Why did some people suspect Lewis of being a fundamentalist?  How did Lewis differentiate his position from that of a fundamentalist?

2.  What was Lewis's opinion on the book of Job?  On the Genesis account of creation?

3.  How does Lewis characterize God's guidance in the writing of Scripture?  What does he think about the human writers' part in it?

4.  Lewis suggests that some of us would prefer the Bible to be more like an encyclopedia.  Why?  Instead, God gave us what he thought best.  What possible reasons does Lewis offer for the more elusive way God took?

5.  Lewis draws a parallel between the Incarnation and the writing of Scripture.  Human life becomes the vehicle of divine life.  Literature becomes the vehicle of God's word.  What is the danger of this "up-grading" of lower forms?

6.  What was Jesus' approach to the second meanings in Scripture?  List some of the examples Lewis gives.

Chapter 12-Second Meanings in the Psalms

7.  What was controversial between the way Jesus interpreted the Psalms and the way the Jewish leaders interpreted them?

8.  Lewis comments about viewing Scripture through the lens of your own generation.  Do you agree/disagree?  How might contemporary influences impact the way we interpret Scripture today?

9.  What two things "attach" Psalm 110 to Christ?  Both the writers of Psalm 110 and Hebrews compare Jesus to Melchizedek to show Jesus as both priest and king.  These offices were kept separate in the nation Israel.  Priests descended from the tribe of Levi; kings descended from the tribe of Judah (specifically David's line).  How is Jesus both a priest and a king?  (Hint: Jesus' first coming emphasized the priestly role.  His second coming will focus on the kingly aspect.)

10.  What connections exist between the sufferer in Psalm 22 and Jesus, the archetypal sufferer?

11.  How is Christ, as the Son of Man, an archetype?

12.  Look at Psalm 84:10, Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8 and Ecclesiastes 3:11.  How is the passing of time an aching wound which eternity will cure? 


Fundamentalism:  A movement arising in the early 20th century which sought to shore up traditional Protestant Christianity and defend it militantly against the challenges of German higher criticism, Darwinism, and other perceived threats.  Through the decades the term has evolved in meaning.  During Lewis's time (1940s), fundamentalism's distinctive was the literal interpretation of the Bible.

John William Dunne (1875-1949):  Irish aeronautical engineer who also wrote a bout the nature of time.  After having a precognitive dream of a volcano eruption, Dunne posited that our perception of time as linear occurs only when conscious.  When dreaming, past, present and future are simultaneous.
Additional Reading

(1) Letters of C. S. Lewis, dated Nov. 8, 1952 and May 7, 1959

(2) 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21. 

(3) C. S. Lewis on Scripture, by Michael Christensen (1979)

(4) Seeking the Secret Place: The Spiritual Formation of C. S. Lewis, chapter 3, by Lyle W. Dorsett (2004)

© 2010 by Allyson Wieland