“For this we labor and strive…”
God is a giver. So much of Christian belief and action rests on this elementary observation that it is almost shameful to put into words. God’s gifts of grace and mercy are daily refreshed (Lam 3:22-23), and the gifted grace of Christ Jesus is held as the defining “giving” of God. Following that, the Bible has been received as apostolic testimony to God’s person and ways in the world. It is this Holy Word that is pored over in faith that God will gracefully respond and engage his people to enact his will. The Bible is approached as not only a gifted Word, but a Word that continues to give.
But what does this Word give? When we are engaging with God’s Word, what is the purpose or goal? (Telos if I may) Are we to find more apologetic proofs for the divinity of Christ? Is rote memorization the ideal fruit of study? Ethical direction? Are we to side with Augustine, where the formation of love is the barometer of good Bible reading? The options can be bewildering. Thankfully, this Word which God has entrusted can dilute presumptuous attitudes which seek the sole answer in hearing God. While the Given Word is singular, its gifts are varied in appearance but equal and splendor, for all things are done thanks to God and the Lord Jesus Christ.