Pastor’s Friday Comments (10.18.19)

For a few days at the beginning of this week, I did very little besides read and meditate on specific passages of Scripture. The purpose was to devise a sermon plan for the 2019-20 Christian year, but the far more important result was the privilege of having these words of life speak directly to my heart. Before I can ever speak from them to you I must allow them to speak to me.

I have now read every possible passage from the Bible that we are likely to read in worship or from which I or another preacher will proclaim the word in sermons between the beginning of Advent, December 1, 2019 and Christ the King Sunday, November 22, 2020. As happens every year, I have been struck again by the depth and richness of the word of God as it reveals to us the living Word, Jesus Christ, and as it provides guidance for our lives. My prayer, in which I hope you will join me, is that, as we study the Scriptures and as we seek to apply them to our individual and collective lives, we will grow in our faith, in our love, and in our determination to make a difference in the world for which Christ died.

It also happens that the epistle passage for this coming Sunday speaks to the importance of the Bible for our lives. In part, it reminds us that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

In other words, through the reading of Holy Scripture and through our allowing the Holy Spirit of Christ to guide us in its interpretation, we have been given the guidance that is necessary for leading our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. So you know where I’m going next: None of this matters if we don’t read it and seek to apply it. To leave our Bibles to collect dust on our shelves (or as seldom-opened apps on our smartphones) is not only useless, but foolish. God has given us a resource that could help us to live lives of confidence and holiness, but unless we read it is as useless as a road map left unopened. (I guess the better analogy would be Google maps with the sound turned off.)

I remember quite some time ago in Baptist life a certain year was designated “The Year of the Bible.” My thought then is my thought now: Shouldn’t every year be the year of the Bible? For that matter, shouldn’t every day be a day in which we engage in the study of God’s word? I challenge each of us to engage in more and deeper Bible study in this next year. We will all be better for it.