Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In recent decades there have been numerous battles over the nature of the Bible. How will we discuss the infallibility of the Scripture? How are we going to view the original manuscripts, which we do not have any longer? How will we deal with the variant readings in the many copies of the text? How can we understand the historic views of inspiration and the authority of the Scripture?
Our reading from Acts 1:12-26 speaks to this, in a way. Granted, not many will be satisfied with the way the reading addresses the issue, but it speaks to it nonetheless. The events in Acts chapter 1 underline the apostles’ view of the Bible. That is, it points out that the apostles certainly seemed to believe the Bible would speak about everything which was necessary, and that the ideas the Bible gave them could be rightly applied to their current situation.
When Peter observed that Jesus had selected twelve apostles, but that the count was now down to eleven, Peter’s conclusion was that there was an apostle missing. He saw that there was biblical warrant to replace personnel at times. He devised some criteria which were consistent with the ways the other apostles could be identified. He brought the issue to the other Christians who were assembled. They agreed and a new apostle was selected.
The selection of a replacement apostle seems a minor issue, at least by some measures. There were only twelve. They didn’t all need to be replaced at once. Many could argue that it was not biblically necessary to replace Judas, but that it was permissible. What is important in this episode, though, is that the Christians could consider their current situation in light of Scripture, then make a decision to do or not do something.
Do we believe that God speaks through the Bible? If so, we do well when we consider our life, our callings, our work, and our society in light of the Word of God. Then, and only then, will we be ready to consider different topics and see if God has spoken about them. We are then ready to receive divine guidance and participate in Christ’s harvest field.
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