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Thursday, February 20, 2020
Today’s Scripture Reading | 2 Peter 1:16–21
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.
So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (NRSV)
“Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation . . .”
This passage presents a really good rationale for studying scripture with other people: whether that’s “live” in a Bible study or in an academic class or through worship on Sunday or “remote” by scripture scholars or in reputable online study.
There are all kinds of reasons why studying scripture with others is beneficial. First of all, when I look at the Bible with someone else, it’s less likely that I’ll go off the deep end and make God’s word fall in line with my word; it’s dangerously easy, alone in my room, to see what I want to see in the words of the Bible. Secondly, with more people come more resources. Others have read books I haven’t, heard lectures I haven’t, attended classes I haven’t—and vice versa. The complex contextual and interpretative puzzles of whatever book I’m looking at are better solved when many people’s knowledge and insight are brought to bear on them. Likewise, when I approach the Word with others, so many different sets of life experiences are there to elucidate and illuminate. Just as Peter (or one of his disciples) uses his experience of being present at Jesus’ Transfiguration to help suss out the mystery of Jesus’ second coming here, I have met obstacles and encountered graces that help me to understand more fully what biblical authors are trying to get at; sharing those may help another do the same. Hearing about how others’ lives intersect with revelation will expand my grasp as well.
Salvation history is the story of God interacting with God’s people as a community, not just all of us one at a time. Hearing and unraveling that story together is part of our call as Christians.
Word of God, you who shine light into the darkest places, make me attentive and perceptive. Open me to the wisdom of others, and help me to be generous in the sharing of my own. May that process lead to the dawn when your morning star will eternally shine in the hearts of all. Amen.
Written by Susan Quaintance, Director, Center for Life and Learning
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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