The Oath

This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on September 13 2015.

Christians have always given a high regard to Scripture. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been matched in practice: the Bible isn’t used with the same level of value that we say that it has. I once heard the ridiculous story of an Eastern Orthodox church that prided itself in its possession of a large and ornate Bible, the first ever to be printed in the native tongue of whatever Eastern European country it was in. But it was not to be touched, not to be opened. We may think this is silly, but Evangelicals (who are known for a particularly high value for Scripture) can have rather disappointing statistics on Bible reading in private and in church. May ‘lip-service’ never be a term that describes our regard for the Bible!

At the end of his first letter to the Thessalonian church (1 Th. 5:27), Paul writes “I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.” Paul didn’t write his letter just for the elders, or for those who were good readers, or for the extra-keen Christians. He wrote for the benefit of all, and charged the recipients of the letter to make sure everyone heard it when they gathered together (cf. Col. 4:16; Rev. 1:3).

When I was a new Christian in my late teens, I got the idea in my head that Christians were supposed to read the Bible through once every year. I’m not sure where I picked that up from, but that early habit has since served me well. Reading regularly through the entirety of the Old and New Testaments, whether alone, or aloud with a friend or a group, or in church gatherings exposes us regularly to ‘all that God wants us to know’. Why not take up the practice? Something unexpected might jump out at you.