08 August 2006

Words About Books: Bibliomancy

From AWAD:

bibliomancy (BIB-lee-o-man-see) noun

Divination by interpreting a passage picked at random from a book, especially from a religious book such as the Bible.

[From Greek biblio- (book) + -mancy (divination).]

If you are having a hard time deciding between turning groupie and following your favorite band around or to stay put in your accounting job, help is at hand. Try bibliomancy. Here's the step-by-step method:

1. Pick a book you trust a lot.
2. Put it on its spine, and let it fall open.
3. With your eyes closed, trace your finger to a passage.
4. Interpret the passage as your lifemap to the future.

You could even add more randomness to the process. To do that at the macro level, visit a library and pick a book at random from the shelves. At the micro level, instead of interpreting a passage, pick a single word and let it point you to your path.

Now, I love books. I don't even mind changing things in my life based on things I've read in books. But, this bibliomancy goes a bit far, even for me. I have known Christians who practice something similar to this with their Bibles, but did not realize there was an actual word to describe the process.


Douglas Groothuis said...

Thanks for reminding me of this word, which I had forgotten. I read of it years ago in a book about the occult!

However, God does sometimes direct through reading a biblical passage at "random." For example, Mark Gabriel, a professor of Islamic history in Egypt, was given a Bible by someone. He read through much of the NT and accepted the God of the NT. Thanks be to God. Then he let the Bible fall open for one more passage before going to morning Muslim prayers. It was Psalm 93, the great psalm of God's protection. He immediately memorized it. (He has memorized the entire Koran.) He would need the truth of Psalm 93; his father later tried to kill the new convert from Islam to Christianity. Read of this in Gabriel's gripping book, "Jesus and Muhammad."

Douglas Groothuis said...

My previous post should have referred to Psalm 91, not 93. Sorry.

reJoyce said...

Like you, I do believe that God can use random passages to help us and direct us. I firmly believe that learning and knowing God's word can help us infinitely in the things we face in life, no matter how we come to select the verse(s).

The part that is going a bit far for me is people who are trying to make decisions in their life (should I buy a new car? should we have another baby, etc.) by opening their Bible and pointing and expecting it to have the answer to their query. It doesn't really sit well with me. I hope however that I am open enough to accept that method of decision making if God ends up convincing me somehow that He does want to communicate with me that way. Right now though, I'm going to need a bit more persuading. :-)

Thanks for your comment and the book suggestion! Sorry for the slow reply.

gracie said...

I've never heard that word but you've just had me laughing out loud! Great blog...

reJoyce said...

Thanks, Gracie. :-)