The Bible rarely asserts its authority self-referentially. When it does, we should pay attention. Second Timothy promises that “all scripture is inspired by God.” The scripture Timothy refers to—the only scripture the New Testament knows—are the Hebrew scriptures, what we call the Old Testament. It is a gift from God, and it instructs us in the salvation that faith in Jesus brings.

God has given us variegated scriptures. The voice of God’s written word comes not as that of a monotone speaker but rather resembles a raucous family argument over good food, stretched out over centuries. The Bible is not a single book, but a library of many (sixty-six for most Protestants; more for other Christian denominations) with different authors and settings. Some parts disagree with other parts. This suggests that God wants us to discern truth through many and varied voices.

Our text from Jeremiah continues Torah’s tradition of limiting retribution. Exodus promises that God’s mercy extends to a thousand generations. (See Exodus 34:6-7.) That’s a heap of mercy. It continues with what seems like a curse—iniquity on children to the third and fourth generations. That’s a lot less punishment than mercy, but the prophets are not satisfied. As we read yesterday, Jeremiah 31:29-30 disagrees with Exodus: God punishes no one for their parents’ sins. See the trajectory of mercy started in Exodus and continued in Jeremiah?

Scripture is not a word in granite or marble. It is a word on soft, fleshy hearts. (See Jeremiah 31:33.) Discerning its truth—drinking its marrow—requires argument, debate, discernment, and delight. That’s how God makes us, mere humans, more like God.

God of all scripture, help me to love your word and to honor it enough to debate its meaning with others as we seek to love you together. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer Luke 18:1-8

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Leccionario Semanal
October 14–20, 2019
Resumen de la Escritura

At last Jeremiah is able to bring a message of restoration and hope. God promises a new covenant with the people, and they will internalize the law in their hearts so that they will keep it. The psalmist rejoices in such a reality. He meditates on God’s law all day and has been granted profound understanding. This allows him to walk faithfully in God’s paths. The reading from Second Timothy confirms the ongoing power of God’s law in scripture, which is given by God for our good. Timothy is charged always to be ready to preach it faithfully. Luke hits on a different theme: the importance of persistent prayer. In the parable a heartless judge finally yields to a persistent widow, so we should be similarly tenacious with our prayers to God.

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Jeremiah 31:27-34. How have you broken your covenant with God? How has God responded?
Read Psalm 119:97-104. The Jewish laws of the Hebrew scriptures are part of our Christian heritage. How can you delight in the law?
Read 2 Timothy 3:14–4:5. How can you learn or teach from scriptures you do not normally read?
Read Luke 18:1-8. Through the familiar call to pray always, the author reminds us that we are called to pray for what God wants. What is at stake when you pray for justice and mercy?

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