As part of the season of prayer at St Peter's, a time when we encourage people to work on developing their prayer and devotional life, I invited the congregation to take a verse to meditate on for each day this week. To read it in the morning, chew it over and pray on it during the day and then write down what they felt God was saying to them through it in the evening. So I thought I'd just put a couple of my reflections on line... as I found the spiritual disciple helpful.
The verse on Monday was 'All Scripture is God-Breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" 2 Timothy 3:16... It has always been used to affirm the scriptures as being God breathed or inspired. It's one of those proof texts that we can prattle off in defence of a certain position. But in taking some time to ponder it and chew it over and wrestle with it... I felt the Spirit Speak to me in a way that this verse has not before.
The passage does talk of the divine inspiration of the scriptures... I know that how Christians unpack and understand that is very diverse and divisive.
As a preacher I found it an encouragement to keep faithful to exploring and explaining the scriptures because in doing that we are part of the process the Holy Spirit uses to allow the scriptures to do what they are designed for, to bring new life, maturity and transformation. As a verse it also challenged me to examine how I teach and preach. is my vision and prayer "So that all God's people may be thoroughly equipped for every good deed."
However, as I thought about this passage through the day the real challenge for me came in the question. if the scriptures are useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness ...So that all God's people may be thoroughly equipped for every good deed... What is he attitude I come to reading and reflecting on scripture with...
What is in it for me...? Bless me Lord!
"intellectual curiosity?' As a preacher that is one of the things that we must do... but it also must never become the sum total of our engagement... particularly in our own devotional life.
I'm just doing my spiritual discipline thing... Like all disciplines you can easily fall into a rut.
In the end this verse in 2 Timothy invites us to come to scripture with a openness to what God is wanting to do in our lives... we come as a learner, open for God to speak change and transformation into our lives... even when it means that God points out the bits that need to change, which can be a painful process... Jesus sais that the person who builds their house on a rock is the person who heard what Jesus has to say and puts it into practise... or the more blunt wording who obeys it.
In the end of my reflection I thought the best way to come to scripture was with the prayer that Eli gave to Samuel in the midst of a night of disturbed sleep... 'speak Lord, for your servant is listening' (1 Samul 3:10) a mantra (OK, a centring prayer when I open up the scriptures, devotionally and for preparing a message for Sunday.
here is a link to the verse for the day resource mentioned in this post...