“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” (1 Thess 2:13)
I love that hope – “the word of God, which is at work in you believers”. It’s interesting to me that Paul in 1 Cor 15:10 talks about the grace of God at work in him. It may be that the way grace works in a believers life is through the instrument of God’s word. Meaning, one of the primary means of grace in a believers life is the word of God.
Lately I have been thinking about the power of the word of God. Not the sermonized word of God, not the missionized, not the movementalized, not the bookalized (I’m making up words now) but simply the word of God.
As I understand early church history, one of the things that was paramount for the church was simply the public reading of God’s word. This was mainly due to the fact that having personal access to the scriptures of the New Testament not a reality during that time. So when believers gathered, they wanted to get as much of the divine word of God in them as possible. While there was always a homily that was delivered in the church service, much time was dedicated to simply reading the writings of the apostles. There was a very high view on hearing the word of God, of just listening to the words read as if God Himself was speaking from heaven. This is why Paul tells Timothy
“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” (1 Tim 4:13)
Last night at our church’s prayer meeting, we started by simply reading Psalm 115, 116, and 117. There was something about reading, listening to the word, without commentary and without sermonizing, that felt like the tilling of hard soil in preparation for planting.
Hmm…. how will these stirrings work out into my personal life, my family life, and the church I pastor?