The Bible can trouble us, comfort us, and perplex us. Sometimes even just a few words can bring us to a stop. In What’s in a Phrase? Pausing Where Scripture Gives You Pause, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre invites readers to join her in quietly and prayerfully contemplating passages that have caught her attention over the years. As McEntyre notes, hers is a book shaped by lectio divina, the ancient Benedictine practice of spiritual reading. That practice is built on the belief that “allowing associations to emerge around the phrase that stopped us is an act of faith that the Spirit will meet us there.”
In over 50 brief yet pensive reflections, McEntyre uses etymology, theology, history, literature, and her personal experiences to explore the subtleties and possible connotations of phrases such as “in the beauty of holiness” and “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Her thoughtful and vulnerable pondering leads her to pose the very questions at the heart of any spiritual journey: “What is the church?” “Who are the poor?“ “What does it mean to be known by God?” This book embraces the Bible as God’s living Word—mysterious, powerful, and meant to be engaged. The structure of What’s in a Phrase lends itself for use as a daily devotional, but the book could also be read straight through or even worked into teaching materials for educators and spiritual leaders.