A new year has begun – it is 2017!
This year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, when the Word of God became accessible to God’s people.
I often pray this prayer from the prayer book when I read the bible: Blessed Lord who has caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Savior Jesus Christ.
Through the turbulent early decades of the English Reformation, the public reading of God’s Word in the common language of the people was forbidden. The clerical elite closely guarded Scripture and its Latin text was jealously protected. However, through the grace and providence of God, His word written became available and Archbishops Thomas Cranmer’s dream of a renewed church in England was one step closer to reality.
By edict of King Henry VIII, the Bible was not only to be made available; it was also to be read in public. Churches were required to purchase and display the Bible in English. Clergy were instructed to put the Bible on display in churches and that no one should be discouraged from reading or hearing the Bible.
How is your own bible study going? This is such a very important question! The only place where God supremely discloses himself is in his Word. Martin Luther whose courageous actions triggered the Reformation said this, “The Bible is alive. It speaks to me. It has feet. It runs after me. It has hands. It lays hold of me. The Bible is not antique or modern. It is eternal.”
Anglican theologian and author, Dr. J.I. Packer has wisely written, “Western Christianity has become superficial and shallow. We do not give ourselves time to soak ourselves in Scripture and stunted development, which includes an undervaluing of the Bible, is the unhappy result. We need to be clear, other things being equal. It is the Christians who eat up the Scriptures on a regular basis who are likely to achieve most for our Lord Jesus Christ in the future just as it was Bible-fed Christians who achieved most for him in the past.”
As this Reformation 500 year begins, may God give us the passion to ‘eat up the Scriptures’ on a daily basis. I encourage you to develop the pattern of daily reading the Bible, taking your Bible to church on Sundays and reading from it as the Scriptures are proclaimed and the sermon is preached.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105