February 21, 2023
Today’s Reading: 2 Peter 1:16-21
Daily Lectionary: Job 16:1-22, John 7:1-13
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Pet. 1:20 NKJV)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. One of the major tenets of the Reformation is Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone. But what does that look like in practice? Originally, it was said against the papacy, who claimed that popes and councils had the authority to add doctrines over and above Scripture. What happened in practice is that many people became their own “pope” in a sense, and offered their own interpretation from isolated Bible verses, and then claimed, “Scripture alone!”
This still plagues the Church, especially in the age of YouTube prophets and dispensationalism. The Bible for these is simply sacred source material to mine, in order to shore up their own ideas. We still desperately need to hold to the tenet of Scripture alone. If we let go of it, we will “turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:4) and we’re liable to listen to visions of an angel who proclaims a different Christ and a different gospel [Galatians 1:8-10].
We believe ‘Scripture Alone’ because of what it is: God’s Word. God’s Word that does what it says, from making creation to working faith in the souls who hear it. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). God’s Word is that lamp in the darkness which shines against the darkness of this world and that of our own hearts. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). God’s Word is our source of life. Mary models this for us: When the angel announced her conception and said, “For nothing will be impossible with God,” she replies, “Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:37-38).
The Bible is not a matter of private interpretation, and it doesn’t need someone’s clever explanation to have it stick. God sends His Word with the Holy Spirit who interprets. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit also protects us against false interpretations. John writes, “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in Him” (1 John 2:26-27). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
-Pastor Michael A. Miller is Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lebanon, OR.,
Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.
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