Large Letters (January 17, 2013)

…Opening To…

When you read God’s Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, “It is talking to me, and about me.” (Søren Kierkegaard)

…Listening In…

Look at the large letters I’m making with my own handwriting! (Galatians 6:11; context)

…Filling Up…

The third thing you may not know about the Bible (and specifically the New Testament) is that it wasn’t compiled into the form we know today until a couple of hundred years after the individual pieces were written. (The Hebrew Scriptures followed a similarly haphazard construction, but it’s much less historically verifiable, so we’ll stick with the New Testament for the purposes of this devotional.)

Beginning in the middle of the first century (perhaps the year 49ce, which is when many scholars think Paul penned First Thessalonians), the authors of what became the New Testament started writing. But they had no idea they were writing the Bible. The individual accounts of the Gospel were used in local churches and perhaps passed around to the surrounding environs. Paul’s letters include things such as Paul bemoaning his own handwriting and asking a friend to get a room ready for him. Nearly three hundred years after Paul disclosed embarrassment about his penmanship, the four accounts of the Gospel, letters from various folk, a sermon, an account of people spreading the good news, and a revelation found places in the “canon” of the church. The canon is the starting lineup of texts that the church decided were the best guiding documents for the church’s future. (These documents also helped to form the church, so you’ll find yourself in a chicken-and-egg quandary wondering which came first.)

I think it is simply wonderful that the folks who wrote the New Testament didn’t realize they were doing so. Somehow, this ignorance of their own importance for the life of the world lends a rawness to their writing. The texts display the whole range of human emotion: fervor and fear, hope and hubris, joy and anger. I wonder how much would have been scrubbed out had they known what their writings would become?

…Praying For…

Dear God, you were with your servants when they wrote because you had touched their lives. Help me to touch the lives of others because you have touched mine. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, hoping for an encounter with you as I read about your presence in the lives of your people.

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