Daily Devotion 09 March 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 ‘The Importance of Scripture’

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is [a] useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

[a] Footnote: 2 Timothy 3:16: can also read ‘Every scripture inspired by God is also useful for…’

Ezekiel 3:3

‘He said to me, Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey.

Long gone are the days when preachers could assume that their congregations knew their Bibles back-to-back or, for example, could spot the hundreds of Biblical allusions in Charles Wesley’s hymns. You may have heard the story of the Head Teacher who once made an unannounced visit to a class who were having an R.E. lesson about Joshua and the fall of Jericho. The children sweated with fear as the Class Teacher fired questions one after another, which they failed to answer. “Who knocked down the walls of Jericho?” was her final one – to dead silence. “Who knocked down the walls of Jericho?”, he asked threateningly, bending over the front row. At last one little child blurted out in terror, “Please Sir, it wasn’t me, honest!”. Disappointed with the answer, he turned to the Head Teacher in disgust and desperation, to which she replied, “Well, if he says he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it!”

I was reminded of this when opening an Authorised (King James) Version of the Bible which had been given to me by my parents, and in which my father had written part of the passage above – the letter of encouragement which Paul had written to Timothy. Dad had also preached on the verse above from Ezekiel (which made us all giggle, I have to confess) – but the essential message was the same: the Bible is a record of God’s self-revelation and needs to be read with devotion, faith and intelligence.

In his Essays, Francis Bacon (1561-1626) who was Lord Chancellor to King James 1, wrote ‘Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few are to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention’. The Bible is just that sort of book – or rather, collection of books. But notice the footnote in vs. 16 of the passage from 2 Timothy above – now there’s a point about which Christians can debate for hours! Surely this is a reminder that, whatever our theological standpoint, God speaks to us through his written word, and points us to the Living Word – our Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer:

Loving God, help us to find joy, wisdom, beauty and peace
in the pages of scripture,
and so grow in the knowledge and love of you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Barrie Tabraham.
Images freely available online.

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