“The soul is restored by the Word of God” Psalm 19:7
“Conflict about how to see and read the Bible is the single greatest issue dividing Christians in North America today” says Marcus Borg in his book Reading the Bible Again for the First Time. The conflict centers in questions regarding the origins of the Bible, its authority, and its interpretation. Some of the conflict is around 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which in the New Revised Standard Version reads: “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” A more faithful translation of the Greek may be “All scripture is God-breathed,” but it does not mean “God-spoken.” There was a human element in the writing of Scripture even though the divine inspiration informed the content, vision and spirit.
Hymnists, through the years have written words about the scriptures. They have attempted to speak of divine inspiration and move the written Word beyond dictation by God.
Break thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
as thou didst break the bread by Galilee;
beyond the sacred page I seek thee, Lord,
my spirit pants for thee, O living Word. Mary A. Lathbury, 1877
The Scripture is a banner before God’s host unfurled;
it is a shining beacon above the darkling world.
It is the chart and compass that o’er life’s surging tide,
mid mists and rocks and quick-sands, to you, O Christ, will guide.
William W. How, 1867
We limit not the truth of God to our poor reach of mind,
to notions of our day and place, crude, partial, and confined;
No, let a new and better hope within our hearts be stirred;
O God, grant yet more light and truth to break forth from your Word.
George Rawson, 1853
For all the writings that survived, for leaders, long ago,
who sifted, copied, and preserved the Bible that we know,
Give thanks and find its story yet our promise, strength, and call:
the working-model of our faith, alive with hope for all.
Brian Wren, 1993
Order our steps in Your word, dear Lord,
Lead us, guide us, every day.
Send Your anointing Spirit, we pray
Order our steps in Your word.
Please, order our steps in Your word. Glenn Burleigh, 1991
Let us read and study the Bible with open minds and hearts, so that God may inspire us to love our neighbor, to do justice, and to walk humbly with our God.
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.