Bible Sunday, the word of the lord is praised today
I laid on the floor a large stack of bibles, and explained their translation and the reasoning, GNB, NRSV, ESV, NKJV, etc explained the misogyny of the KJV (male verbs are used either where no gender was said or even when the female was used) , Each had different roles, different translations. The GNB is easier to read, NRSV is the official translation of the church of England.
Explained my story about when I was lonely in a small flat outside of Bournemouth and asked for help,. I came from an large noisy atheistic family, but this little red bible had followed me around from the day it was given to me at School.. I was from a busy family where everyone did shift work, so the house never slept, to a tiny village in Corfe Mullen. This Beautiful, remote and very very lonely for the first time from him. One day I sat on my bed and was at a very low ebb. Held that little bible and prayed.
I asked him for help , said ,I am really lonely , and I need help, please help me and the room was filled with love.
Unalloyed, perfect, real, almost filling the space of the air, love. Also I have never felt lonely or alone since that day.
He came into my heart that day, and been ever present ever since then.
I have had a relationship with him since that very day and then showed the little red Gideons Bible I held in my hand that day. Explained that my leader was Matthew
What do we have in the Bible, 66 books, of poetry, history, biography, law and prophecy, Apocalyptic, Wisdom and Gospels that were first spoken and then written down?
Such human books, in the bible we find love. Anger, greed, hatred, sex, and sin etc etc, The list is endless. The entire human condition is discussed, check out Song of Songs if you think anything’s missing.
Its clearly written by people, real people, living lives, and facing the tasks and challenges of the human experience. Paul prefaces a lot of his letters with things like, I’ve got timothy with me, complains about his eyes, he sends his regards to and from various people, asks the receiver of to look after onesimus his slave, and asks for a guest room to be prepped as he hopes to see you soon. Calls something complete scoobilon which is left untranslated from the Latin for dung.
All very human things that show us these are humans just like us writing these things, not aliens that get turned into typewriters by God.
Also, we work with a translated text that was from the very first time Jesus spoke. Jesus words were Spoken in Aramaic, heard remembered and eventually written by Greeks, Hebrews?
So from the moment, Jesus spoke his words were translated from Aramaic into the native language of the apostles many of whose mother tongue was something else.
We worship using a translated book. That was written, Some by authors we know, some lost in the mists of time. Then some of the words and grammar and meaning of the oldest translations we have left written in Greek say don’t have direct translations to English. Hence that pile over there.
However let me be 100% crystal clear, let me not be misunderstood.
The Bible is undoubtedly the word of God with every word inspired by him and through scripture and prayer, we can peer through a glass darkly at the plan God has for all humanity and for the minutiae of our lives. If for one second, I doubted that I would never dare to stand in front of you today or any day.
Some might ask how given all the variables I spoke of before I can have such certainty. Because how else would a God who made himself human talk to us except through humans in a human way, he so wanted to do that he became human. Through his creati
I was called by the God who wrote that book, who works with that book to mould us into all he wants us to be, the book of Common prayer says there’s no health in us, but today we are going to look at how god’s love works through the bible and makes us whole.
Takes us on the journey to being made whole.
So how do we work with God to learn from scripture, how do we learn from our master through this wonderful thing? Jesus tackles this very thing today. When he says….
If you believed Moses, (addendum in scripture ) you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say
That is it in a nutshell!!, That’s it,, The Bible brings us to him , but we have to let him take over. when I first read the bible, Jesus was alive for me, and remains alive. Jesus came alive through that book (Matthew was the first passage I read in a little Gideons Bible). So for the Jews it would be Moses because that’s what they had, for me it was Matthew but whatever scripture resonates for you, you have to believe him p, you have to let him in.
That is the secret to the Bible, Once Jesus is alive in your life then all those things that I spoke about earlier become Nuance and the fabric that Jesus can use to work with us. Jesus speaks through the spirit, through that book, and through us.
The spirit is in us, and as soon as we plug into that and its awoken by the book, the three of us work together, Jesus, the spirit and us, who he made us to be.
However please don’t think I am asking you switch off your intellect
He doesn’t want us to park our brains at the door marked “scripture” he wants us to bring all that we are to the process. There he meets us, and works with us, as he always did.
What then the typewriter theory, the idea the apostles were turned into Dictaphones. Lost in the idea these words are divinely inspired, and work for all of us regardless of where our little spark of life happens in the millennia to bring us closer to God. The church of England has as one of its 39 articles that “HOLY Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation:” and it indeed it does, everything you need is here, but you need to bring everything you are to them, let god take them, always always pray before reading , to learn from them, your heart, your prayer, prayer, your thought. Richard Hooker one of the founding fathers of Anglicanism used the idea of the three legged stool, Scripture, tradition and reason.
I would argue that isn’t enough. The stool needs many legs, it needs prayer, it needs learning, it needs robust and repeated action to bring his words to life. Most of all it needs the real knowledge of a living god brought alive in our lives. Then because all scripture is breathed by god. As the hymn goes, we will be filled with life anew.
Then we can bring scripture to life in our lives because it is breathed on by a living God. What then all those things of a translated faith? The universal truths of the bible, are from God are never ever diluted. The multiplicity of the various methods used in the bible are just the tools God uses to bring his words to life.
This is why a legalistic view of scripture alone is never enough, and what got Jesus so excised today. His living word alive in our lives is greater than Moses,. As Jesus said today
If you don’t for if you do not believe the one he sent. 39 Even if you study[a] the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. . If however after this , 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
You missed the point, the bible is the word of God. This is the word of the way the truth and the life. But letting him into the story, letting him into the story of our lives is the only way to God. The bible is a special precious thing and truly the word of God, but its as useless as a hammer lying on the floor when a nail needs used, because without him being alive in our lives, it becomes something else, a book, a set of laws, an antiquated thing.
With him in our lives it’s a living word, that doesn’t just overcome its translation, its million authors, its genesis. It becomes his living word, and all those things become things he uses to come to life in our lives. Through poetry, prophecy, biography etc and yes a all the translations. He uses them to find you, and share universal truths
As Paul told Timothy
16 All scripture is inspired by God and is  useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
On bible Sunday that’s what all we need to know,