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The Bible’s spiritual purpose

January 22, 2022

Daily Scripture

2 Timothy 3:10-17

10 But you have paid attention to my teaching, conduct, purpose, faithfulness, patience, love, and endurance. 11 You have seen me experience physical abuse and ordeals in places such as Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. I put up with all sorts of abuse, and the Lord rescued me from it all! 12 In fact, anyone who wants to live a holy life in Christ Jesus will be harassed. 13 But evil people and swindlers will grow even worse, as they deceive others while being deceived themselves.

14 But you must continue with the things you have learned and found convincing. You know who taught you. 15 Since childhood you have known the holy scriptures that help you to be wise in a way that leads to salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus. 16 Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, 17 so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

United Methodists believe “that God speaks to us through the Bible and that it contains all things necessary for salvation. This authority derives from three sources:

  • We hold that the writers of the Bible were inspired by God, that they were filled with God’s Spirit as they wrote the truth to the best of their knowledge.
  • We hold that God was at work in the process of canonization, during which only the most faithful and useful books were adopted as Scripture.
  • We hold that the Holy Spirit works today in our thoughtful study of the Scriptures, especially as we study them together, seeking to relate the old words to life’s present realities.

The Bible’s authority is, therefore, nothing magical. For example, we do not open the text at random to discover God’s will. The authority of Scripture derives from the movement of God’s Spirit in times past and in our reading of it today.” *

  • Some details, facts and even ideas in the Bible don’t match each other perfectly. But the point of the Bible’s deep story is God’s loving work to redeem lost humanity. Every inspired Scripture is part of a story aimed at bringing people into a vibrant, life-changing relationship with God. The Bible shows people who want to respond to God how to live a life reflecting God’s redemption and love. When you read the Bible, how often do some of the details distract you from the larger story? How can the GPS, sermons and other times of personal Bible reading and study help you view each individual section in the framework of the larger story, the “meta-narrative,” the Bible has told God’s people for centuries? How do you open your heart and mind to let God’s Spirit, who guided the Bible’s writers, also guide you to let the Bible authoritatively shape your life?

O God, master and guide, I need your help and wisdom today and every day. As I read the Bible, use it to equip me more and more to daily be your physical presence in my world. Amen.

GPS Insights

Blake Thomas

Blake Thomas

Blake Thomas serves as the Director of Student Ministries at Resurrection's West location. Blake is an Olathe, KS, native, and has also lived in Chicago serving in different ministry capacities. He earned a double B.A. in Youth Ministry and Bible & Theology from North Park University, and a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. During his time in Chicago he served as a camp program director, youth pastor, and hospital chaplain. He loves getting to journey alongside students at COR!

One of my favorite parts in my job is watching students go through Confirmation. The Church of the Resurrection offers a Confirmation course for current 8th-12th grade students. In Confirmation, students have the opportunity to explore their faith by asking questions, they get opportunities to serve their community, and they journey alongside adult mentors to participate in small group discussion. At the end of Confirmation, they are invited to make a public commitment to Christ and become a full member of our church community. In addition to all that, they dig deep into reading the Bible!

Many of our Confirmation students grew up in the church. They remember reading the Bible in Sunday School–the stories about Adam and Eve, Jonah and the whale, Jesus walking on water, and so many others. Some of our Confirmation students are new to the church and are hearing some of these stories for the first time. The powerful thing about Confirmation is that students open up their Bibles together while sitting in a circle, they read a Bible passage, and then reflect on it together. They ask the question, “How is this useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character?” (like 1 Timothy 1:16 talks about).

It is always powerful to learn from students the perspectives and insight they are bringing into reading Scripture. When I listen to our Confirmation students reflect on the Bible, I feel like I’m learning just as much as them as I hear how the Holy Spirit is nudging them in their reading. I’m constantly saying, “I’ve never heard that perspective,” or, “you view that in a really unique way.” Sitting with students and reading the Bible together reminds me that even though I’ve been through seminary, sometimes I need to have the posture of an 8th grader when reading the Bible! Reading the Bible together allows us to hear the passages more fully and recognize how the Holy Spirit is working in each other’s lives.

I encourage you today to open your Bible. Turn to one of those stories you know well. While reading it ask yourself, “How is this passage useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character for me today?” Maybe take the posture of an 8th grade Confirmation student the next time you read the Bible and ask, “How would a student read this passage?” There is no limit to what the Holy Spirit can reveal to us, and there is always the opportunity for the Bible to change our hearts. May the Holy Spirit guide you in your reading, and may the Bible’s words encourage you today.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.