Discover more from The Raven's Writing Desk
Happy Reformation Day and thanks for spending some time with me today. If you’re enjoying this newsletter and something specific jumps out at you today, it’d be great if you could copy it into the comments below. It’s helpful to know what’s resonating and I’d love to hear from you. I’ve been doing this for ten weeks now and I’ve had some lovely emails, I really appreciate all your support.
Over the next eight weeks I’m going to be taking a deep dive into 2 Tim 3:16-17 which says:
“All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Christian Standard Bible, 2 Timothy 3:16–17
This week I’ll kick that off by arguing for that first word “All.”
66,…65…,64,… and counting
Though a whole tome could be set apart to argue for theological acceptance of the whole canon of scripture, what I see more commonly in the church today isn’t a theological refutation or wariness so much as a functional rejection of many passages and often whole books. There are many reasons for this and each one breaks my heart. Especially today, looking back on the reformation and the martydoms and exiles that took place to provide us with the Bible in our language, it’s horrifying that those who should benefit from the entirety of the blessing it provides are content to relegate much of it to the sidelines. Joel Beeke, in talking about the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, says the following:
“The Reformers taught that God gave us Scripture as His Word of truth and of power. As His Word of truth, we can trust Scripture for time and eternity. As the Word of power, we can look to Scripture to transform and renew our minds through the Spirit of God. That power must be manifested in our lives, our homes, our churches, and our communities. While other books may inform or even reform us, only one book can transform us and conform us to the image of Christ. Only then will we become true sons and daughters of God and of the Reformation.”
Joel R. Beeke, Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism, (Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2008)
If we believe that, then surely scripture, all scripture, will play a role in our lives. Unfortunately, what we often see happening goes something like this.
I believe there are 66 books, but thankfully I already know one or two of them really well, and so I don’t need to read them anymore, let’s focus on some others. 64. Revelation, well… who understands that anyway, 63, and Song of Songs is all about, well, you know and so I should probably wait to read that until I’m married. 62. The minor prophets are just so difficult to read and I don’t wanna spend time on something I’m not going to get, I’ll save that until later. 50. Leviticus is just rules, just like Numbers and Deuteronomy I think? 47…
On and on it goes until we begin to read the 30 or so books that are left over and then we begin to go through the same process of elimination with other passages within those. We remove the genealogies because they are 'just names’ and familiar passages we can also skip over because they’re children’s stories (parables, David & Goliath, Noah’s Ark) or we’ve just heard them a million times (I can do all things through a bible verse taken out of context). others are not relevant to our situation, singleness/marriage, or are just uncomfortable, sexuality/slavery.
It may be that you’re reading this list and thinking, “Please! No one does this.” Well let me encourage you to take a look around and look to see whether there are others around you who need your help to encourage them not to live like this. For others, you’re seeing yourself in this and this might even just be normal for you, it’s all you’ve ever seen or heard from people. Let me encourage you to get stuck in to one of the things you’ve been missing out on. If you’re struggling to know where to begin, please do go back and read my articles on bible study.
Reading in Context:
How to use Comparison:
Why we use Commentaries:
The Whole Truth
Thankfully we don’t have to do this alone, God’s given us the gift of his Church as well as a host of others to help us through this. Remember that the ones who fought for you to have the bible didn’t do so without leaving you with assistance in how to read it. Throughout Church history men and women of God have left us with everything from light, simple explanations (Study Bibles, The Bible Project) all the way to thick commentaries. What’s more, there are likely men and women in your own life who know more about how to study the bible than you do and who you can ask questions of if you’re stuck. The best of them wont just tell you the answer, but help you get there too. The Christian life is best enjoyed, best lived, in community, specifically the local Church. Get stuck in and keep on the lookout for people in your life who can encourage you in faith, in reading the word. Don’t be swept up in the temptation to excercise functional rejection of chunks of the bible, instead take the oppurtunity to feast on everything, including genealogies, especially genealogies (I love those things.)
Grace and Peace,