eating: mandatory or optional (pt 2)

When someone asks “do I have to read my Bible every day?” the focus is immediately turned to the respondent and/or his response. Will the answer be too soft or too severe, too lazy or too legalistic? But I’m increasingly convinced that the question itself should be our focus. The problem lies not in the answer but in the fact that such a question should even be raised.

Take just two examples from the book of Psalms:
Psalm 19:7a, 8a The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul…The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart…
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Verses like these speak to an objective and subjective element to Scripture. The objective element is heard in declarations that the Word is perfect and right; the subjective is contained in the effects or the experience of that perfect Word: the soul is restored, the heart rejoices, the words are found to be sweet. If the Word is true on these points, how is that we get to the place where we ask whether or not we’re required to read perfection every day, or if our heart must experience joy, or if we’re obligated to enjoy the sweetest food of this life? Queries like these would be like a man asking if he must enjoy the “perfect” woman (and how often) when he found her or a teen wondering why his parents insist on giving him his favorite dessert after every meal. In those cases we find a certain absurdity to the inquiry that says more about the nature of the interrogator than the matter under review.

To be continued…

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Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Associate pastor for education at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian and theological Luddite. A student of one book.

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