“The Wednesday Word” Devotional & Podcast
We thought it would be a great idea to have a mid-week recap & refresh of Pastor David’s Sunday sermon. Let’s make sure that we are learning all we can from them!
Pastor David’s Wednesday devotional will be related to the Sunday sermon in some way. It could be an expansion on a theme, a different twist, or some kind of content related to Sunday’s sermon. Various staff members and parishioners will gather to discuss the devotional and how it relates to our lives and maybe give some practical application of the word.
You can listen to the audio version in your car, while doing housework, during your workout, or whenever is most convenient for you. We want you to be able to access it at any time that is the right time for you to have a few minutes to read and reflect on it.
Pastor David’s devotional for March 16, 2022
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
II Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness
During my sermon last Sunday I talked about Eisegesis. Eisegesis is the practice of reading into scripture what we want it to say. In the sermon, I talked about how easy it is for Christians to carry some of the baggage of sin with us as we read the Bible. We can allow our sinfulness to color how we understand the Bible. People do this all the time. We have other names for it, names like proof-texting. But whatever we call it, we know it happens—people can make scripture say what they want it to say to justify what it is that they already have decided to believe.
Looking back into church history, can you think of times Christians have allowed their own sinfulness to color their understanding of scripture. Can you think of times people made scripture say what they wanted it to say? Thinking about your own life and church experience, have you experienced people proof-texting the Bible? Can you remember examples? How has the misuse of scripture impacted people’s lives?
When I began my Seminary years, my very first class taught us Exegesis. Exegesis is the name we give to reading the Bible without predetermined understandings, in order to hear what it really is trying to say. We were taught tools to use to help unpack the meaning of scripture. While most people have not learned all the tools that help us “Exegete” a verse or story of scripture, all of us can check ourselves to try to keep from falling into Eisegesis or proof-texting.
What are some ways you can test your understanding of a Bible verse or passage?
In my sermon, I also talked about Romans 1 and specifically Romans 1:26-27, which traditionally has been interpreted as a prohibition against same sex relationships. I believe using these verses as justification for denouncing same sex relationships (specifically two people of the same sex who love each other and want to spend their life together) misses the point of the verses and ends up being a proof-text to reinforce predetermined beliefs. I know this is a strong statement. I also know not everyone will agree with me. I welcome opportunities to talk with people about what the Bible says regarding this matter. A good place to start is with a few questions: How were you raised to think about same sex relationships? Has your understanding of same sex relationships changed? If so, is there an experience that precipitated the change? Do you believe your experiences impact your understanding of scripture (this is a hard question)? (This takes us back to the previous question about ways to test our understanding of verses in the Bible.)
I was raised by accepting parents. However, as a college student, I simply accepted what the Bible said at face value—it sounded like it was condemning same sex relationships, so I accepted that as true. Then I met a female pastor named Nancy who, a few years later, came “out of the closet.” Nancy was a wonderful Christian woman who helped me grow in my faith. Knowing her made we rethink my beliefs. As a student of the Bible, I couldn’t just dismiss passages as irrelevant. And as a good Methodist, I believed that any interpretation of scripture that was contrary to the law of love was wrong. It seemed to me as through my initial thoughts about the scriptures were hard to reconcile with love. So, I dug into scripture and started reading with a questioning mind. It became clear to me that I had misunderstood what Paul (and other scriptures) were intending to say. I changed. The Christian life is a life of change. I have changed in many ways. I suspect you have as well!
Moving on, Sunday’s sermon was not just about same sex relationships, it was primarily about Paul’s words: all of sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In the sermon, I talked about “original sin,” using the example of a newborn baby to talk about what original sin means. Thinking of a newborn baby, have you ever struggled with the idea of original sin? Was the way I described original sin (being born into the brokenness of this world where a relationship with God is not a birthright) helpful?
In Romans chapters 1 through 2, Paul makes the case that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When we think about the mess our world is in, Paul explains that the root of the mess is idolatry that shows itself in lots of ways people sin. He ends the chapters by saying that if idolatry that shows itself in sin is the problem, the solution is the grace of God that comes to us through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the answer! And Jesus taught us to love God with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. I encourage us all to hold our beliefs and even biblical interpretations up to the light of Jesus and his law of love!
God bless you,
Podcast & Sermon Video Links
Stream The Wednesday Word Season 2 Episode 10 by Desert Spring United Methodist Church – Las Vegas | Listen online for free on SoundCloud
“Stating the Problem: Sin” Sermon Video