A Matter of Naming (January 30, 2012)

…Opening To…

The Bible is a harp with a thousand strings. Play on one to the exclusion of its relationship to the others, and you will develop discord. Play on all of them, keeping them in their places in the divine scale, and you will hear heavenly music all the time. (William P. White)

…Listening In…

I will open my mouth with a proverb. I’ll declare riddles from days long gone—ones that we’ve heard and learned about, ones that our ancestors told us. We won’t hide them from their descendants; we’ll tell the next generation all about the praise due the LORD and his strength—the wondrous works God has done.  (Psalm 78:2-4; context)

…Filling Up…

Last year at the end of January and beginning of February, devotiONEighty looked at certain topics having to do with the Bible – five things you shouldn’t do when you read it, five things you should do, and five words that often get misinterpreted. This year, we are going to have a few more weeks of Bible study on devotiONEighty, starting today with the beginning of “Five things about the Old Testament.” (You can probably guess what next week will be.)

Our first thing about the Old Testament is the fact that “Old Testament” is not really the best name we could be using for this set of books that makes up the majority of our Bibles. Saying “Old” puts it in direct comparison with the part of the Bible we call “New.” Now, of course, when we say “New,” most of us mean “more recent.” This is a fact. The books and letters that make up the “New Testament” were written more recently than those in the “Old Testament” that came before it. But when we say “Old” and “New,” what we hear (and what some folks think) is “Obsolete” and “Current.”

But the truth is, both the Old and New Testaments make up our Bibles. One is not better or more important than the other. Indeed, the “More Recent” Testament developed from and built on the “Less Recent Testament.” So, if you retain the phrase “Old Testament,” make sure the word “Old” doesn’t carry the baggage of obsolescence. I tend to use the name “Hebrew Scriptures” because it says what they are, but doesn’t set them up to lose to the New Testament.

Stayed tuned tomorrow when we delve into this, the bulk of our scriptures, on what I will henceforth call “Five things about the Hebrew Scriptures.”

…Praying For…

Dear God, you were a guiding presence for so many of my spiritual ancestors, who wrote about you in the Bible. Help me to see your presence as clearly as they did and to follow your Word with all my heart. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, grateful for your presence throughout time and space, as recorded in the Bible and lived in my life.

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