From time to time, I will send those on my email list an article with the intent of soliciting their feedback or broadening their horizons. As if I could lend a hand in doing that! Nevertheless, when I find an article interesting, my hope is that they will also.
Exchanging ideas and wrestling with tough questions is often a lost art. Many people do not want to engage in dialog about challenging issues. Which is unfortunate.
A recent article I read questions the deity of Christ. Another appears to take the key tenants of scripture and transforms them into sociologically acceptable terms. Both articles were intriguing – going down roads where my mind finds it hard to stay in step. Nevertheless, they push me to think and make decisions.
Reading the Bible is not a check-your-mind-at-the-door exercise. Whether we read it as part of our personal devotions or in preparation for teaching a Bible study or small group, keeping our mind engaged with the text is key to understanding.
This morning, for example, in my study of Luke, I found myself asking this question. “Who was with Jesus during those forty days in the wilderness while he was being tempted?” One would think somebody had to be there in order to originally present the account as a part of his life story. It seems unlikely that Christ, somewhere down the line said…”This is what happened to me when I first began my ministry” and none of the Gospel writers record that teaching session. Then again, this may have been their recording of that teaching session.
Scripture is fascinating. It stretches my mind and heart when I think that a man like Luke would see it important enough to chronicle the life and ministry of Christ in order that “a friend” might have certainty about the things he has been taught regarding Christ. He may not tell everything, but after much research and prayer, he tells what he believes is important.
What might Theophilus have done with this information? Did he wait in anticipation of Luke’s next chronicle in order to get the whole story? Did he take what he read and bounce it up against what he had been taught and say, “Yes, that makes sense. It is exactly as I had heard when I came to faith in Christ.”
I listen intently to sermons and our Sunday School teachers. I bounce everything I hear up against the biblical text. Each phrase is filtered through what I have read, what I have learned, what I understand the text to be saying. It may sound corny, but the Bible should be shaping my belief system. My belief system should not be shaping the text. So it is indeed worth asking the questions that bring understanding. Just as Theophilus brought his questions to Luke.
Father, may my mind and heart be open to Your Word. May I be a good student as well as a devoted follower of Your Son.