Listening Together to the Best-Selling, Least-Read Book of Our Time

January 25th, 2021 by Christopher Caudle

The wordiest Psalm in the Book of Psalms (and the longest chapter in the Bible) is a song about the Word.

Scripture Engagement - Scrabble tiles

Psalm 119 romps through the entire Hebrew alphabet, with eight line stanzas for each of the language’s 22 letters, describing the value, benefits, and helps that God’s words offer.

Verse 105 names one of these benefits.

Your word is a lamp for my feet,

a light on my path.

your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

This Psalm works best when it is dark, or the memory of darkness is fresh. Stubbed toes and strange sounds in the shadows also heighten appreciation.

A lantern, an illumined path. What a gift. Gratitude and dependence are obviously in order.

Scripture engagement - lantern

Unless we get lost in all the words.

It sometimes happens when we think about the Bible. The best-selling, least-read book of our time.

So Many Words

Light and direction don’t always seem to come spilling out when we flip the switch on the spine.

Scripture engagement - Bible open

Maybe the batteries are weak, or the bulb past its usefulness?

Scripture engagement -weak light bulb

The Psalmist makes a myriad of claims about the Word’s value and virtues.

Psalm 19 (a hundred chapters earlier) is a wonderful sidekick to this deluxe version, and both of them point us helpfully toward the Word’s usefulness by reminding us of the Word’s source.

Your word is…”

The word is from God.

God’s words to us.

The word is from God. God’s words to us.

So many words, but one good source.

An Author who inspired the authors.

An Interpreter who joins all trusting interpreters as they listen.

So Many...

So many chapters and verses and translations and genres and time periods and covenants and invasions and minor prophets and questions and surprises inside the Bible.

Scripture engagement - printing letters

So many teachers and talkers and videos and books and controversies and links about the Bible.

Scripture engagement - open books

So so many questions and surprises.

Scripture engagement - questions

But one good source. God.

Listening for the Voice of the Author

As we begin this new year, there is still darkness around us. There are paths to be walked and noises in the shadows.

Scripture engagement - dark path

In response, let’s hear God’s word together.

Scripture engagement - listen to phone and headphones

One thing is clear from the Bible itself. God spoke in a wide variety of ways so that the widest variety of people could hear His words to them.

You May Have a Favorite, But...

Sometimes, the church has picked a single favorite way to hear God’s word and reduced it to that, leaving lots of the Bible and lots of people behind.

But there are lots of ways to encounter scripture, listening for the voice of the author in the words He gave us.

there are lots of ways to encounter scripture, listening for the voice of the author in the words He gave us.

We each have our favorites because they have worked for us.

Unless we don’t have a favorite because we haven’t found what works for us.

Listening Together

We are beginning this year by listening to the scriptures together.

Engaging scripture - coffee and earbuds

Dwell subscription page

You can download a free subscription to the Dwell app for your phone and listen to God’s word. You can select the voice and music you like (my favorite is Felix from Tanzania with the cello in the background) and listen to any portion of scripture you choose.

There is no cost to you because we believe this is important for the growing health of our people and parish.

You can invite your friends to join you. We are happy to share this opportunity with them.

Engaging scripture - share around a  table

Pick a Plan

Once you sign-up for the app, inside you’ll find a list of reading plans created by the church staff.

A list of staff plans on Dwell

These 5 or 10 day plans will let you listen to a portion of the scriptures each day. Each staff member picked their own topic and selected the scriptures.

In a couple of weeks, each staff member will host a zoom call where you can share what you heard with others who have also been listening.

Simple and Powerful

Simple.

Whether you’ve been reading the scriptures for years or have never read a sentence.

engaging scripture - simple plant

Powerful.

Especially if you usually let scripture enter your heart through your eyes.

Powerful tree

Jesus' Greatest Talks

My reading plan is called Jesus’ Greatest Talks and it includes some of Jesus’ most memorable teachings.

Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.22.27 PM

Scriptures for Christopher's Plan

I am listening for both what Jesus said and how he said it, and look forward to what you hear as you listen along.

God Speaking Generously

Scripture can be experienced in so many ways.

One good God generously speaking and sharing His love and plans and path, most clearly through Jesus Christ.

One good God generously speaking and sharing His love and plans and path, most clearly through Jesus Christ.

As time goes by, we will be introducing more ways to encounter God in the scriptures.

In the meantime, sign up for the app with no further obligations.

Pick a reading plan and let us know if you are reading along with us.

You can email me at christopher@new-covenant-church.com if you want to read along with me. Join us for the zoom call. We will be sending info to all the people who sign up for the plan.

Which Captures It Best?

Psalm 119 has inspired lots of responses from its readers. I'll leave you with two musical examples. Which one captures the  psalm’s promise best for you?

The first is by the 17th century English composer Henry Purcell.

Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.29.23 PM

The second is an anthem by 1980s CCM artist Amy Grant.

Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.31.11 PM

Many ways to hear, many ways to respond. One good Author who loves us and offers us light and direction.

Bulb with plant growing inside

To hear Christopher's latest sermons on new beginnings, go here.

To subscribe to our podcasts, click here.   

To see our latest service, click below.

Online Church Service

 

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About this author:

Christopher Caudle

Christopher Caudle

Fr. Christopher has an authentic sense of humor and is a man after the Lord's own heart. He pastors the members of New Covenant Church while keeping his family as a keen priority. Fr. Christopher holds BA in History from the University of North Carolina and a MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theology Seminary.

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