Study Guide: The Rorschach Test

Sunday July 4, 2010 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Psychologists use Rorschach tests to reflect what is inside a person. How we see the world and even how we read Scripture works in a similar way.

Extended Summary:

Greg introduced a tool (the Rorschach test) that psychologists use to reflect what is inside a person. What it does is present an ambiguous image which gives the viewer the responsibility to make something of it. What we see is partly a function of what we tend to see and focus on in general. So, if we are generally upbeat, optimistic and hopeful, the chances are good that we’ll see something pleasant in the image. The opposite is also true. The principle here is that we reflect what is inside of us onto what is outside of us.

The reason Greg introduced this tool is because the principle applies to how we make our way through complex/ambiguous things like life in general and the Bible in particular. An example of this is found in today’s text. Jesus acknowledged that the Pharisees studied the Scriptures diligently, but because they didn’t have the love of God in their hearts, they were not able to see the love of God and the fulfillment of that love in the Old Testament.

In a similar way, when we have the love of God in us, life will be seen through that lens. Greg challenged us to let the love of God overpower the other things that may reside in our hearts. Some of those things might be hurt from our past, consumerism, violence, sexual issues, selfishness, nationalism or legalism. When we allow the love of God to live in our heart that love comes into conflict with these things and it is up to us to choose love rather than these dangerous ways of viewing the world.

(Greg used a video clip in this sermon. View the original video on YouTube.)

Reflection Questions:

  1. Read each of the supporting texts. What stood out to you most from this message and the supporting texts?
  2. Read John 5:39-42, 46-47. Where did the Pharisee’s go wrong in reading the Bible? What was needed to change this?
  3. Has anyone in this group ever taken a Rorschach test? What was it like? What sorts of factors affect what we see in a Rorschach test? How is life like a Rorschach test? How is reading Scripture like a Rorschach test?
  4. Read 1 Cor. 13:1-3. Clearly we can do all sorts of amazing things but if it is not rooted in the love of God in our hearts it is of no benefit to us. How is this passage related to the rest of our discussion today?