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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, September 12, 2021

September 7, 2021
  • Proverbs 1:20-33
  • Psalm 19
  • 1 Corinthians 1:13
  • Mark 8:27-38

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight…”

These familiar words from Psalm 19 provide perfect preparation for studying the scripture readings for this week, or indeed at any time. This visionary psalm is clearly a collection of meditations from the heart of the poet. I see four distinct sections beginning with all of Creation, then the Sun (or light), the Law, and finally the poet’s humility before those wonders. Note also the similarity between the Collect’s request that God “grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts” and the plea in v. 13 of the psalm for God’s guidance. We should remember that our prayers need to begin with praying for the sort of Wisdom described in our excerpt from Proverbs.

Remember, the Hebrew understanding of Wisdom (hokmah) goes far beyond mere academic knowledge. It describes the ability to function successfully in life, whether as a craftsman, a parent, or a scholar. An earlier verse, Proverbs 1:7, tells us: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” This awe of the presence of God is exactly what the author of our psalm experienced: meditations on the awesomeness of creation, including the reference to the fear of the Lord in v. 9, led to the humility of the final stanzas.

So what Wisdom should we embrace in order to be successful in following Jesus? In our readings for last week, we encountered discussions of the relative importance of faith and works in relation to salvation. But this week, in the familiar reading from 1 Corinthians, we find an over-riding Wisdom, Love: “…if I have all faith, …, but do not have love, I am nothing.” Paul is urging all of us not to be discouraged if we “see in a mirror, dimly” at present, but rather try to live with true selfless love (agape) as the guiding principle in all our works and know that after our earthly end, when questions of faith versus works are no more, we will understand fully.

Finally, we have Peter’s Confession that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah – the One promised by God to Israel throughout scripture. But it comes in the midst of Jesus’ disheartening news about his coming suffering and death, which Peter, viewing only the dim mirror described by Paul, could not understand.

“… O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” - Chuck Medler

  • Can you identify “works” in your own life that meet the true selfless nature of agape? How about some that come close?
  • Can you describe meditative thoughts of your own about the nature of God?


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