Last Sunday, in our Sunday Gathering, there was an opportunity for people to write down any questions they had about the text we were considering (Ephesians 2:1-10). Many years ago, I heard a story of a Rabbi (Jewish teacher) asking his students to come back the next day with any questions they had about the text they were studying. The following day he collated all the questions from his students, and turned to them disappointed – they hadn’t come up with enough questions. His disappointment was rooted in his belief that it is a sign of respect that you are taking the text seriously by asking lots of questions of it – it shows you really want to wrestle with the Bible and find out what God is saying through it.
I love that story – and it has encouraged me to ask questions of the text of the Bible, as a sign of my deep respect of the Scriptures and desire to hear God’s voice through the written words.
Last Sunday, with the questions I had come up with beforehand and the questions submitted on the day, we had over 40 questions (admittedly there was some overlap). During the sermon I explored some of these questions (note I am not saying ‘answered’!), but many I didn’t. I wonder what questions you still have about the text? And what became clearer last Sunday? (If you missed it, or would like to listen again, you can do so here. My explanation of the text starts at 18 mins 30 seconds and lasts for 18 minutes – just a good length for a listen over a cuppa!).
A number of the questions centered about the first 3 verses, and some of the language used in this book of the Bible: Who is the ruler of the kingdom of the air? What is meant by ‘children of wrath’ or ‘those who are disobedient’? Other questions focused around the final verse in the passage, concerning the “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”. There were others that focused more on application or how this passage speaks to us today – for example “how much do I still gratify the cravings of the flesh”.
In our Sundays sermons, we are seeking to move away from solely a monologue to include some dialogue, in the belief that we learn and grow the most as we each personally engage (in this case with the Bible, but it could be lots of other things – for example, I believe we learn more as we move from watching someone do something to actually doing it ourselves). So this Sunday coming, as we move to the second half of Ephesians 2, perhaps read the whole chapter, to engage afresh with last week, and prepare for the coming week. What questions do you have about this week’s text? And as you wrestle with these passages of the Bible, what might God be saying through them?
On Sunday 14th February we are doing something different. We will have looked at chapters 1-3 of Ephesians and Paul is about to move on to “therefore” of Eph 4:1 … in light of this understanding of God, Jesus and the good news, this is how you are live. So we are going to pause, to reflect, and see what questions we still have of the text, what God is saying to us through this. We will facilitate a conversation between a few people, diving into questions that we might still have. If you have questions that you would like to explore, please leave a comment below or email me.