Guarding and proclaiming the unchanging truth in a changing world

In thanksgiving… for the treasure of His Word (Hebrews 4:12)

6th November 2020
Audio: 

In thanksgiving… for the treasure of His Word (Hebrews 4:12)

Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs

From their beginning, Anglicans have believed that the living Word of God alone contains all things necessary for salvation. This was the view of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, martyred for his faith in 1556 who once said, “let us night and day muse, meditate and contemplate the Scriptures. Let us ruminate, and (as it were) chew the cud, that we may have the sweet juice, spiritual effect, honey, kernel, taste, comfort, and consolation of them.”

How wonderful to think of the Bible in such terms: sweet juice, honey, taste, and comfort.  When we see God's word, the Bible, in these terms, our love for the Bible and our desire to read it increases and the Scriptures become a treasure for us.

On numerous occasions, over the course of my service to the Church, I have listened to Christians who claim to hear the voice of the Lord and others who are desirous of hearing something of God speaking into their lives or personal circumstances.  Some Christians participate in extraordinary routines in an attempt to hear a fresh whisper from God the Holy Spirit, hoping to get a word from the Lord from which they can act or determine direction for their lives.

Wanting to hear from God is a very good thing!  Asking God to speak into our personal circumstances is part of our surrender to his will.  But how do we know his voice?  How can we be sure that we are hearing the treasure of his Word?

In the 10th chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus is speaking to the disciples about being the Good Shepherd of the sheep.  In verse 27 Jesus says, 'My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.'

So, how can we be certain that we are hearing the voice of Jesus the Good Shepherd when there are so many noises competing for our attention?  We do so by reading and studying the Bible, by memorizing bible verses and as we do, we become ‘in tune’ with the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ who gives us focus and direction. 

The more we read the Bible, the more we become accustomed to his voice. The Anglican homilies from the 16th century Reformation describe the Bible as food for our souls.  The Homily on Scripture states that, “as drink is pleasant to them that be dry, and meat to them that be hungry, so is the reading, hearing, searching, and studying of Holy Scripture to them that be desirous to know God or themselves, and to do his will.”

Far from being a dead book, or dead letter upon a page, the word of God is living and full of vibrant heart-piercing life. It has hands to lay hold of you. It has feet to run after you. It has power to subdue you.  It is sharper than the sharpest of swords. It has the power to search out thoughts deep within our mind. 

Therefore, we should set the Word of God always before us like a rule, and believe nothing but that which it teacheth, love nothing but that which it prescribeth, hate nothing but that which it forbiddeth, do nothing but that which it commandeth.

Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs
Diocesan bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word, a diocese in the Anglican Church in North America.

Prayer: 

Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent.

“Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by the patience and comfort of your holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

BCP 2019, p. 598

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