Monday, August 21, 2023

Traveling Widely in the Scriptures

It's my first day back at school since the semester began and there's quite a buzz on campus. One of the first questions I'll ask my class is, "Anyone travel this summer?" The general assumption is that people travel during the summer break. As you know, I love to travel. Travel expands your horizon like nothing else I know.The more widely traveled we are, the more we appreciate all the things closer to home. There is something mind-expanding and life-changing about travel. Augustine put it like this: "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page." Every year I try to visit a place I've never been to before. And to do this, we don't actually have to travel very far.

Can we switch gears for a minute to the spiritual? Christian author Eugene Peterson writes:

I want to hold out for traveling widely in the Holy Scriptures. For Scripture is the revelation of a world that is vast, far larger than the sin-stunted, self-constricted world that we construct for ourselves.

This is not traveling far to a part of the world. It is traveling far in a book. This kind of "wide travel" is one of the key requirements of my students as future leaders and teachers in the church. Little wonder that the first Christians were "devoted to the apostles' teaching" (Acts 2:42). Can you imagine anything more exciting than to sit at the feet of the very people who knew Jesus best? They must have hung on every word. No, they didn't have the New Testament as we do today. They had the writers of the New Testament. 

My goal in teaching Greek this semester will be a very simple one. I want to invite my students to travel widely within the Scriptures. I want them to become devoted to the apostles' teaching as never before. Sometimes we evangelicals are accused of taking the Bible too seriously, of bibliolatry even. Let's be clear about what we worship. We worship God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We worship that God alone. But the fact is, the Trinitarian God's primary mode of communicating with us is in this book. 

It is my prayer this semester that I, along with my students, will do this as never before.