Daily Devotion for September 29, 2010
by Henry Ossawa Tanner, ca. 1989.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"
To Walk in the Spirit Today
Holy God, in the daily journey from sunrise to sunset, remind me always of your holy presence hovering near, both within me to guide me, and surrounding me to protect me. Free me from shame and self-doubt; and help me, and all of my fellow believers, to see the myriad opportunities to walk our path in the courage, honesty, and wisdom inspired by your Holy Spirit.
Prayers for Those Torn by Alcohol and Drugs
I pray, O God of hope, for all persons and families whose lives are torn and disrupted by drugs and alcohol. Enable them to identify the illness. Strengthen them to seek help. Bless them with the power of your love, which imparts transformation and wholeness to those who trust in your name. Grant that as they walk this tortured road, they may journey together, bound close together in the bond of love. Shine your light upon them, Lord Christ, that they may see the path out of their misery, and give them the strength to follow it.
[The protection of the Holy Spirit.]
Community of Prayer
I pray to you, dearest Jesus, for all the graces I need to know you, to love you and serve you faithfully unto death, and to save my soul. Give me a tender and fervent devotion to your sacred passion by which I was redeemed, venerating you each day in prayer, and teach me how to unite sorrows and sufferings of my life with your own.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
“I suppose there are two views about everything,” said Mark.
“Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there’s never more than one.”
~ C.S. Lewis, from That Hideous Strength
Jude 1:1-3 (DP)
1-2A message to all people who are called by Christ and beloved of God; from Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and James' brother:
3- Beloved friends, although I wanted to write to you about our common salvation, I have found it necessary to write instead to encourage your continuance in the faith, which has been given to the saints once and only once.
1 Judas of Jesus Christ servant, and brother of James, to the in god father loving and of Jesus Christ guarding called;
2 may mercy to you and peace and love be increased.
3 Beloved, although I am making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I had the necessity to write to you encouraging you to continue striving for the faith, which has been given one time [a]Or once; but note that this is the ordinal number once and does not share the English sense of “generally in the past”, a critical difference. to the saints.
Notes on the Scripture
The Integrity of the Bible
Wednesday, our “Something Completely Different” day, is supposed to give your hardworking Editor a break from our current project: an original translation and commentary of Paul's epistles from the Greek.
But today turned out to be a busman's holiday, since I ended up translating the first verses of Jude! But when I came across this, I realized that it solves a theological issue that seems to plague churches today: Does the Bible actually claim, specifically and unambiguously, that it is complete and final? There is the passage at the end of Revelation (Rev. 22:18-19) that warns against adding anything to, or subtracting anything from, “this book.” But the Revelation warning might be ambiguous — many people insist that “this book” means Revelation, rather than the entire Bible, although it comes at the end of both.
Today's passage from the Epistle of Jude, the penultimate book, has no such ambiguity in the original Greek. Verse 3 speaks of the “faith which was once given to the saints”; but the Greek word (hapax), unlike the English word “once”, has only one meaning. It is the adverbial form of a number. We might say in English, “I once had a dog,” even if we have had several dogs; or yet more generally, “we were once a rich family,” defining a continuous and possibly repeated state of existence. But not in Greek. “Once” is a definite number; hapax means “exactly one time.”
Moreover, questions issues of what is the true Gospel, and what one might think of those who misstate it, is Jude's primary topic. One must be wary of putting too much weight on incidental comments and peripheral statements, in any text, including the Bible. But Jude's statement that there is one Gospel, already delivered, is central to the epistle.
We must also be careful about things that are stated only once. Our stool gets its third leg, however, from Paul: “I have said it before, and I will say it again: If anyone preaches a Gospel to you other than that you have already received, he will be accursed!” (Galatians 1:9)
Once we understand the unmodifiable nature that the Bible ascribes to itself, we can say with assurance that one must make a decision about the Bible. If it is the Word of God, it is the entire, complete, and eternal Word of God, given once to humanity for all time. If it is not entire, complete, or eternal, as it claims to be, it is not the Word of God.
Everyone has parts of the Bible they do not want to hear. The devices used to deny various passages are limited only by human imagination. But denying the essential truth of any part of the Bible renders it fallible. And, as Christ Himself put it, if the salt loses its flavor, it is good for nothing.
This is not an argument for what has come to be called fundamentalism. One does not have to believe, say, that the word “day” in Genesis 1 denotes a period of 24 hours, in order to believe in the infallible truth of the Bible. But that is a subject for another day.