We Value Scripture

Summary of Brendon’s Sermon, September 27, 2015:

Text: 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
 
We Value Scripture: We are committed to living under the authority of Scripture, allowing it to form our imagination, inform our identity, transform our living, and to communicating its truth and relevance in our current context.
 
Why do we value Scripture?
Because we value God. God reveals himself in Scripture. We would not know the Triune God without God’s revelation in Scripture.
 
Paul says all Scripture is inspired by God. Those who composed Scripture did so under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Scripture reveals truth about God and ourselves and our world. Scripture rebukes and corrects and instructs .
 
The basic message of Scripture is accessible and understandable. But Scripture is also a complex collection of documents. Historical distance and cultural differences makes it challenging to interpret Scripture well.
 
We therefore approach Scripture in humility, acknowledging our limitations. We come dependent on the Holy Spirit and open to the opinions of others who have wrestled with the text. Scripture is meant to be read in community, in conversation with others. As we do so, we learn to be gracious and generous toward those who differ from us.
“Inhabiting the Scriptures” – immersing ourselves in them, in order to be formed and informed and transformed by them.
 
Our cultural systems, advertisers and producers of media, compete daily for our attention. Who/What forms our imagination? Who/What informs our identity? Who/What determines how we live?
 
Paul insists that we be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Resistance to cultural forces requires work. It requires sustained engagement with, and immersion in, Scripture. Jesus in the Gospels, the psalms and prophets and the letters of Paul and others.
 
We read chunks of Scripture. We spend extended time with smaller portions, lingering over them, inhabiting them. We study and engage in conversation with others. We memorize portions so we can ponder and ruminate on them. And slowly, over time, our imaginations are formed, our identity informed and our living transformed.
 
A Few Questions to Consider…
  1. What are your thoughts and feelings regarding the value of Scripture?
  2. What in your life would indicate that you live under the authority of Scripture? What in our community would indicate that? 
  3. What have you found frustrating or challenging about Scripture? What do you find comforting about it? 
  4. How has Scripture formed your imagination, informed your identity and transformed your living? How do you respond to the idea of “inhabiting Scripture?” 
  1. What practice(s) have you found most helpful in engaging Scripture?

3 Responses to “We Value Scripture”

  1. Sheila Holtby says:

    Brendan would you mind clarifying for me what is meant by how has Scripture formed your imagination and informed your identity? The transformed your living part of the question I understand. The idea of “inhabiting Scripture” do you mean that Scripture would be such a part of my life that that is the first place I run to for, comfort and encouragement, etc.?

  2. Brendon says:

    Sheila,

    Thanks for your questions. You get the prize for being the first to comment on the blog.

    “Forming our imagination” – Our imagination is made up of thoughts and images ideas and practices (conscious and subconscious) that contribute to our choices and actions. Through our imagination, we have the ability to envision a different future and choose to live into it. Our imagination is formed particularly through the stories we are told, through families, friends, church, but also especially through media (books, movies, music, etc).

    Day by day, our culture (through media and malls) contributes to the formation of our imagination. It is helping us to construct a mental image of the world (what matters and what does not, who are the winners and losers, etc). A lot of that happens subconsciously. Like fish in water, we are, for the most part, not aware of it. So we consume more and more, often uncritically. We live self-absorbed, self-centred lives, with little regard to the concerns of others in our community.

    The Bible, however, tells a very different story: One with Jesus, as King, at the centre. Jesus calls us into his kingdom community, and gives us a different vision of life. He and Paul and others invite us to envision the world differently (what matters most, and who are the winners and losers). So, for example, contentment with gratitude, not simply uncritical consumption, is what Jesus is about. And loving and caring for others, living well with others in community, is a central aspect of his kingdom.

    The Bible then, has the potential to be the primary means of forming our imagination, of giving us the dominant story that drives our lives and draws us into it. But we have to give it priority in our reading and reflecting. We have to choose to inhabit it, to immerse ourselves in it, to saturate ourselves with its story (the story of Jesus and his kingdom) to allow it to counter the story our culture is telling us. As we do that, over time, our imaginations are formed and reformed according o the way of Jesus and his kingdom. But to get there, we need to have greater exposure to the Bible and its story than to the media and malls of our culture.

    Similarly, our identity (who we understand ourselves to be) is being informed constantly by our parents and friends, as well as the media (social and otherwise). The Bible has a different perspective on who we are (created in the image of God, broken, but beloved by God). And the question for us daily is which perspective will dominate our thinking and determine how we view ourselves. Again, where we expose ourselves, which voice we listen to, will inform our identity.

    And Yes, Scripture should be the place we turn to, primarily and predominantly, for encouragement and comfort, as well as perspective on life and principles for living.

    If you’d like to think a bit more about the role of the imagination in our life as Christians, here’s a link to a good article I came across this past week.
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/biblestudies/articles/theology/canyouimagine.html

    Blessings,

    Brendon

  3. Sheila Holtby says:

    Brendon, thank you for your reply. I appreciate this way of being able to continue pondering the message and having a chance to communicate. Sometimes I need to see something written out in order to follow. So thanks for your answers to my questions and also thanks for the link to the other article. I found it very interesting as well.

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