Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jul 15 2013 - Romans 2:25-3:8 – Entrusted with the very words of God

Paul has been arguing that there is no favouritism with God. He treats Jew and Gentile alike, rewarding those who genuinely seek him from their heart and rejecting those whose religion is mere pretence. The people of God, he says, are not distinguished by some outward mark such as circumcision but by a heart softened and moulded by the Spirit of God.

Paul now imagines someone objecting, “But what advantage is there then in being a Jew?” Paul’s response is that we Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God (Romans 3:2). This is indeed a great privilege, but it calls not for pride but for humble submission. It calls for a life lived by God’s Word and a readiness to tell others of what God has said and done. God had revealed himself to Abraham and his descendants not for their blessing alone, but that through them all peoples on earth might be blessed. The Bible tells the story of God’s great love for and gracious purposes towards the whole of his creation.

And the same is true of us today. We who have come to know God through the Lord Jesus Christ have been entrusted with the Word of God and the message of the Gospel. This should not lead to pride and complacency but to a life shaped by this message and an eagerness to tell others of what God has said and done.

I treasure the Bible. I have dozens of copies in different translations and versions as well as several in the original Hebrew and Greek. I have hundreds of commentaries on the various books of the Bible – many of which I have actually read. I have an electronic library of Bible versions, commentaries and tools. I have a rich treasury enabling me to understand the Word of God.

But God is not impressed by my library. He looks for a heart that is sensitive to his Word and a readiness to live by every word that he has spoken. Is this word shaping every aspect of my life?

Moreover, in many parts of the world there is a famine of the Word. I have just been reading of the remarkable growth of the church in Cambodia. Twenty years ago there were just 5,000 Christians in the whole country. Today, there are over 250,000 believers. It’s a phenomenal rate of growth to rival China as the fastest-growing Church in the world. And it’s led to a huge demand for Bibles. 100,000 Khmer Bibles have been distributed by the Bible Society of Cambodia along with the delivery of literacy programmes, but that still leaves many unable to have their own copy of the Word of God.

We have been entrusted with the precious Word of God. Are we simply stock-piling this treasure in our own libraries or are we working to ensure that this treasure is widely distributed around the world in languages people can understand, in accessible formats and at a price people can afford. Are we seeking to make Bible poverty history?

And in our own country many may have a Bible somewhere in their homes but have little real idea of its message. The National Biblical Literacy Survey, conducted in 2009, revealed that 62% of respondents did not know the parable of the Prodigal Son and 60% could not name anything about the story of the Good Samaritan. One respondent said David and Goliath was the name of a ship. What are we doing to make the Bible story familiar again, particularly to the young people of our own country?

We have been entrusted with the words of God. What are we doing with this precious gift?

Forgive me Father that I have hoarded your word rather than distributing it freely and making you known. Help me to show how much I value your Word by making it available to all. May we who know you bring the blessing of that knowledge to all the peoples of the world, starting with those whose lives we touch today.

Peter Misselbrook