2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:5
Let’s give thanks to God that we have sacred writings that are able to instruct us in the salvation brought through Jesus Christ. Whatever writings might be referred to in 2 Timothy:3:15 – the Hebrew Scriptures we call the Old Testament or maybe some early Christian writings as well – we have a body of literature written and collected by people in the early decades of the Christian era bound together in what we call the Holy Bible. God’s gift to his Church. In It, we have material that has been gathered together from something like two thousand years of Jewish and early Christian life and faith resembling a family scrapbook. The theme is God’s interaction with humanity through the people of ancient Israel culminating in God’s action in and through the Jewish man we know as Jesus. We sense that the Spirit of God has been working through countless individuals and communities as the work of writing, collating, editing, selecting, translating, explaining, discovering and preserving ancient material has gone on. The same Holy Spirit led the early Church to a consensus about what should be included in the canon of Scripture and what should be left out. What is more, the impact of the same Holy Spirit may be experienced by readers today, making the words on the page come alive with power to convince and to convert, to guide and to educate, to reprove and to correct. The Bible contains many different kinds of literature; e.g.: history, legend, law, commentary, poetry, drama, stories, myth, description, prayers, songs, and that unusual form of writing called apocalyptic. Each should be read appropriately. However, the central and controlling Word of God which enables the Bible to be called, in a derivative way, the Word of God is Christ Jesus whose story is recounted by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each with his own twist on it. As 2 Timothy 3:16 seems to say, Scripture provides Christians with the resource to guide them both in right living and in ministry and service.
- In what way can the Bible be likened to a family scrapbook?
- Why do you think God gave the Bible to the Church? How has it been misused?
- Why is it important to take the different kinds of writing into account when reading the Bible, and to read it appropriately?
- How important is the Bible to you in your on-going journey of faith?