“16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16)
It’s amazing how similar, and yet how different a couple can be. take my parents, for instance. Both of them enjoyed cooking, but they went about it in completely different ways.
My mother is the, by-the-book recipe follower. She may deviate if, over time she has found she had to make some adjustments in seasoning, but by and large she is going to be exact, and do what the recipe calls for.
My Dad was more the seat of the pants type. If my mother was the “classical music” type of cooking, my Dad was the improvisational jazz type. I don’t think he ever followed a recipe in his entire life. He would go to the kitchen, begin looking at what we had and create something. You never knew what you were going to get but it was usually pretty good.
Two different approaches, but they came up with the same results. They were able to do this because, while they may have had a different way to go about it, they both still had to follow the rules of , the physics of cooking. They both knew if you wanted something to taste good, and to be consistent you had to have the same ingredients. Every time. Leaving out an ingredient could prove disastrous,and could be the difference between a delicious meal and a disaster.
Take for instance the time in a mandatory high school home ec class I forgot to add baking powder to a chocolate cake recipe. You wouldn’t think it was a big deal. It wasn’t a lot and baking powder seems like a small thing in comparison to chocolate and eggs and flour. But the chocolate manhole cover that came out of the oven would beg to differ. No matter how you come at it, it’s all important and it all matters.
What is true for in the kitchen is also true for our discipleship. While we may approach our relationship with Jesus and grow in our faith, we do not have the option of ignoring the “Physics” of our spirituality. Every ingredient is important. All are needed.
This is especially true when we look at our approach to the Bible. I believe one of the main obstacles we encounter in our desire for spiritual depth , as well as renewal is our approach to the word of God.
I thought about this a couple of weeks ago, while at my college reunion (As I said last week this is the last installment, about the weekend promise). While there I look across the street to my other home, away from home in Kentucky, Asbury Theological Seminary. In particular, I was again struck by the logo for the Seminary which reads, “The Whole Bible For The Whole World”.
Take a moment and re-read that. In essence, it is repeating what our Scripture at the top of the blog says. “All of Scripture if God breathed” I love that phrase. In the Bible when God breathes His spirit on something, or someone, it lives. It’s true for Adam in Genesis and it’s true for the dry bones in Ezekiel. Paul is saying to Timothy, All of Scripture is alive with the Spirit of God, and it’s all needed.
Perhaps one of the reasons why we struggle so much spiritually is we don’t take this seriously. Oh we take the parts of the Bible we like to heart, for sure. John 3:16, is always a winner. I Corinthians 13 is nice. The 23rd Psalm is good too. And they are. But in order for us to be renewed and fully alive in Christ, we must embrace the full Bible. For it’s only when we embrace the full Bible that we will truly be bale to reach the entire world of Jesus.
That means we have to take all of it. The parts of the Sermon on the Mount that tell me I must live a life that is counter cultural not only to the world, but to myself? Al that extra mile stuff, turning the other cheek? I have to embrace it. The commands to be a good steward and give all I have to God? We must embrace it. The parts where it tells us how seriously God takes sin, how He hates it? How we must love our neighbor? The parts of the Bible that hold us to standards that go against our current culture? Even the places where we are to “take up our cross and follow”? Yes. All of it.
Even Leviticus. Poor Leviticus so often maligned and lifted up as a reason why we don’t really have to live by God’s laws. But Leviticus is nothing more than a reminder of God’s Holiness and His call for us to live Holy lives in the midst of an unholy culture or world. We ignore its lessons at our own peril, just as if we ignore the Psalms.
Little wonder that John Wesley, when speaking of the Bible, called himself a “Man of One book.” it doesn’t mean that he wasn’t well read, because he was. Or that he didn’t have a scientific curiosity, because he did. What Wesley meant was that in the end, if he wanted to be fully Christ’s and fully reach the world for Christ, he must cry out “Oh give me that book at any price”. Do we dare do any less? The Whole Bible, for the Whole World.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><