This week our lectionary text (This article was published a few weeks late!) is on 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, that well-known passage that describes scripture as “θεόπνευστος,” or “God-breathed.” Our lectionary author, Charles Teixeira rightly points out that Paul would have been referring not to his letters, nor even the gospels, but to the Hebrew Bible, our “Old Testament.”
From Paul’s time up through the present, pastors and theologians have argued that the Old Testament must be seen as God’s Word, in the same way as any book in the New Testament.
But this presents its own set of challenges. I heard recently a pastor share that after deciding to read the Bible in a year, he almost lost his faith.
Why? Well because at times the Bible is a very strange world, very different from our own. I too have been doing a reading the Bible in a year plan and have found myself at times mystified by a text.
These are real questions, questions even pastors ask. So if we do hold the 66 books of the Old and New Testament to be “holy writ,” how can we honestly and faithfully ask questions and allow others to ask questions when we find ourselves confused by the the text?
Because I do think there are answers to these questions, but it’s got to involve more than trite platitudes like, “you just have to have faith.”
I’ll close with these words from the apostle Peter’s second letter:
“but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you,” (1 Peter 3:15)
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