Always a student of God's Word
I remember the Bishop of Coventry, Simon Barrington-Ward once telling me that our greatest strengths can also be our greatest weaknesses. Whilst this sounds incredibly enigmatic, it is also very true. Today, one of our greatest strengths is the amount of Biblical Scholarship that is freely available to every one of us. There is a Christian Bookshop not too far away, and there it is possible to buy Commentaries which range from the deep and technical to the simple "thought for the day". There are also books of theology ranging from John Calvin to the more accessible "Café Theology". But, with this vast range of work available, never has the average Christian in a pew on Sunday been as distant from God's word.
I remember once leading a Bible Study on the opening chapter of Genesis, after which the Church Warden's wife came and thanked me, and then told me how lucky she was as a Christian, because she'd never had to study the Old Testament. I also remember talking to another Church member, who had grown up in the Church, serving in the choir, on the PCC and latterly as verger, and he never read his Bible. I also remember how excited he was as he started to read Acts. When page numbers are announced on Sundays, are they to help people find the reading quickly, or is it because if we simply announced a reading from Isaiah or Luke, most people wouldn't be able to find it?
We are afraid of God's word: afraid to read it on our own for fear of making a mistake. But it shouldn't be like that.
The Bible is the Word of God, given to us because God desires to speak to His people. God's word is not so high as we cannot reach up to it, nor is it so complex that we cannot understand it: God's word is His gift to us. With this in mind, the last Collect in the season of Trinity reads like this:
Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning,
Help us to hear them,
To read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them,
That, through patience and the comfort of Your Holy word,
We may embrace and ever hold fast to the hope of everlasting life,
Which You have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Who is alive and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever. Amen
The Bible tells us that we are to study and talk about the Scriptures whenever we meet, and that it is by the renewing of our minds that we are transformed into the likeness of Christ and grow to be the disciples that God wants us to be. Being students of God's word is one of the greatest things we can devote our time to, especially as we seek to advance God's Kingdom. The word of God is sharper than a double edged sword: without that sword we are weaponless!
2 Timothy 3:16-17,
How does the above Collect help you? Take some time to pray through it.