This past Sunday our pastor Michael Smith preached on Luke 15:11-32, the parable we usually refer to as “the prodigal son” or “the loving father.” He referred to it as “the indispensable parable.” Mike’s approach was that this text tells us a lot about the family of God and provides a lens for us to use as we read all of scripture. This is a good insight. Although it may be unconscious, I think that most of us tend to look at scripture through the point of view of a particular scripture text or texts.
For example, if you read the Bible through the lens of John 3:16, you see the unfolding thread of God’s plan of salvation from Genesis to Revelation. If you read it though the texts dealing with the Lord’s supper, you probably are more sensitive to passages about the formation of the people of God throughout the Old and New Testaments, and God’s desire for unity, sharing, and love in that community of faith. If you read the Bible from the perspective of the Book of Revelation, you will be thinking about the return of Christ and what that means for believers.
I tend to read the Bible through several texts, but the one in my mind most often is 2 Peter 3:18: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.” To me, this is more than a mere salutation at the end of a letter. The passages speaks to me of the potential that God has placed in every believer to learn, grow, and develop not for his or her own sake but to a part of God’s purpose in the world. As a result, all scripture for me points me to the grace of God and the wonderful riches that come from spending time in the scriptures.
What’s the text that provides your lens in reading the Bible?