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What the Bible is (and isn’t) good for

April 9, 2024

Daily Scripture

2 Timothy 2:14-15, 3:14-17

2 Timothy 2
14 Remind them of these things and warn them in the sight of God not to engage in battles over words that aren’t helpful and only destroy those who hear them. 15 Make an effort to present yourself to God as a tried-and-true worker, who doesn’t need to be ashamed but is one who interprets the message of truth correctly.

2 Timothy 3
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

The apostle Paul, Timothy’s spiritual mentor, urged him to “Present yourself to God as… a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Bible study is not a passive, “God-said-it-and-I-believe-it” exercise. Done well, it takes all the mental firepower you have. Paul wrote that, accurately grasped, the holy scriptures “help you to be wise in a way that leads to salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus.” That presents you with some of the deepest truths you’ll ever work to understand.

  • United Methodists believe that “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.” * How, and how often, 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?

  • Some Christians want to say, “I don’t have to ‘interpret’ the Bible—I just take the plain Word at face value.” The apostle Paul disagreed. He urged Timothy to put effort into accurately reading and applying the Bible’s principles. In what ways are you grasping more of the Bible’s central message, not just bits here and there? How can an informed, Christ-centered study of the Bible help you carefully sift truth from falsehood among the many religious ideas that swirl in our world?


Lord Jesus, thank you for the long procession of dedicated followers of yours who wrote and transmitted the Bible as the primary source for me to study to learn the way of salvation. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann serves as the Care Coordination Director for the churchwide Care Central department at Church of the Resurrection.

Galileo is quoted as saying: “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

The first time our family came to Resurrection, in 1996, Pastor Adam said, “… I did an internet search and found…”. My high school age nephew turned to me, stunned: “He did an internet search!” That may not seem like a big deal today, but in 1996 it really was. I don’t remember what Pastor Adam had researched, but I do know that through that one sentence he made it abundantly clear that this was indeed a church for thinking people.

Over the years, I have found myself challenged to think about the Scripture that I read, not to just agree and move on. Because of that, I believe that my faith has grown, more than it ever could if I tried to live by blind agreement. As our own kids have grown, it feels like some of my deepest held beliefs have come through conversations about Scripture and how it fits in our lives today.

As I was thinking about these particular passages, I reflected on the times when I have felt the closest to God, the times that my actions felt in line with who He has called me to be. It’s no surprise that, had I been a person who takes a passage of Scripture as absolute and not really thought about it, many of those times would never have happened.

My husband and I serve with an organization called Free Mom Hugs. This group has a simple purpose–to give hugs to LGBTQ+ people. Our first official outing was at KC Pride. We wore our shirts that said Free Mom Hugs and Free Dad Hugs. (You can probably guess which of us wore which shirt.) We stood under Resurrection’s banner, and my first thought was how proud I was to be part of a church that loves all God’s people.

As we chatted with people, someone came up and looked pointedly at my husband’s shirt. They made eye contact with him and asked, “Is that for real? Are you really hugging queer people”? He assured them that yes, he was there to pass out hugs to anyone who would like one. The person stepped forward, shared a quick hug and stepped back. We saw that their eyes were filled with tears. They looked at my husband and said, “My own dad no longer acknowledges me. I can’t believe you were okay with doing that.” And they stepped back into my husband’s embrace, sobbing. After minutes of just standing, hugging, with tears pouring down this person’s face, they apologized, saying, “I’m so sorry, I cried all over your shirt!” They weren’t the only ones in tears. The rest of the people serving with us, and the friend with them, also had leaky eyes. That day, my husband was the arms of Christ. He showed exactly what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

I hope when people look at my life, they see someone who loves God, follows Jesus, cherishes Scripture, and uses that Scripture, along with my ability to think and reason, to love and serve God’s people with everything I have. I challenge you, open your Bible, read a few verses, think hard about them (do some study if you need to), and honestly ask, “What might God be saying to me, in 2024, about how to live my life? What is He inviting you to do? How is He asking you to show your love?”

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.