Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving

The lesson I am teaching this week is on Ps. 119, the Word of God. I come from a tradition that talks about the Word of God almost as if it were a magic formula, that is, if we hear it, or read it, it's going to have an automatic effect on us that we can't control. It's powerful, and more powerful than us, so we have no say in the matter of its influence on us.

Neither the Bible nor reality teaches that to be true. The Word is sharper than any two edged sword. But someone has to use it rightly. The word is a mirror; but James says we can look in the mirror and walk away unchanged. The Lord does not impose His will on ours. We can read the word and formulate our own response to it. Some of the primary Biblical scholars of today are unbelievers. They approach the text as a scholar would approach Chaucer, Plato, or Homer, as something to be dissected, not as something to be believed and obeyed.

That being said--that there is a human element in the effect of the Word--God is still more powerful than we, and the Word is amazing. Everyday is an adventure in studying the Bible, if one comes to it with a prayerful and open heart and is willing to put the effort into going below the surface. I often use the metaphor of untangling necklaces that have been jumbled up in my drawer--that's how it feels to pull apart those passages in Hebrews, Romans, and Ephesians. But it's not just an intellectually stimulating exercise, it is a treasure hunt.

So I am thankful today for the Word of God, and for being able to study it in this post-Reformation, post-printing press world.

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