Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt from it

Acts 2 is the Pentecost story and describes what happened to the first believers as the Spirit of God formed them into the church.

Read Acts 2:42-47

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…

Papyrus 46, one of the oldest New Testament papyri, showing 2 Cor 11:33-12:9

Papyrus 46, one of the oldest New Testament papyri (ca. 175 – 225), showing 2 Cor 11:33-12:9

More thoughts for meditation

The main thing the Apostles of Jesus taught them was what they knew about Jesus: all he did, said and demonstrated. They began to see the world wiht a Jesus lens and began living together as Jesus followers.

Some of the apostles’ teaching was collected in writing and we now know it as the New Testament. Luke tells us all 3,120+ believers devoted themselves to these words, even before they were collected.

That devotion sounds so intense, so noble, so holy! Sometimes our devotion to the apostles’ teaching feels weak in comparison.

When we come to the New Testament now, we might want to consider from what angle we approach it.  For instance, some people come to it looking for the message, and judge the experience according to whether or not they “got” (or liked) the message. But the Bible isn’t just content, our interaction with the content matters even more than understanding it—that’s why it’s a living text. In other words, the Bible is not meant to be read and reviewed, it’s meant to be struggled with. It is part of how we relate to Jesus, who was, and is, and is to come. We humans come to life through struggle, through being bothered, confronted and engaged—through the interaction.

The believers might have had a head start with this interaction because they couldn’t confuse a lot of the apostles’ teaching with being “just” words on a page. The Greek word used for devoted here definitely doesn’t imply swooning, “blind” devotion, easy agreement or doctrinaire commitment. The word is proskatereo, and it comes from the words pros, meaning to, and kartereo, meaning to persevere, endure. Our devotion to the Bible doesn’t seem so weak if we understand it as perseverance! Anyone can struggle!

Suggestion for action

Spend a few minutes struggling with the six verses linked above. Anything bother you about them? How are you confronted? What doesn’t make sense? Tell God about it—out loud, silently, or through journaling. Try not to judge your devotion to the words in the Bible in terms of how easy it is to read them, or how much you connect with them. Consider devotion as perseverance, not perfection. Relate to the apostles’ teaching, don’t just react.

Today is Pentecost Sunday! Learn all about this important day on the Christian calendar at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.