Smart People and Idiots

Daily Scripture readings for January, set #13:

Nehemiah 7
Proverbs 11:16-31
Luke 17:11-19
2 Timothy 2:14-26

Nehemiah chapter 7 is, for the most part, another fairly uneventful (read: boring) historical documentation of how many people from a particular family were involved in a given event. However, Nehemiah’s language in verse 5 stands out to me as noteworthy: “Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy.” The first half of that sentence is either Nehemiah clarifying that the enrolling was God’s idea and not his own, OR it is his acknowledgement that on a certain level even his own ideas do not ultimately source from himself.

More wisdom on how to engage money in the book of Proverbs: “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want” (11:24). Note the word “freely” and the word “should.”

“Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:18). Jesus makes a clear distinction here between Israel and non-Israel, but the distinction doesn’t determine who has faith.

Today’s reading in 2 Timothy is JAM PACKED with awesomeness, but I’ll focus on these appropriate words for followers of Christ during our country’s current season of political posturing: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” (vs 24-25).

Daily Scripture readings for January, set #14:

Nehemiah 8
Proverbs 12:1-14
Luke 17:20-37
2 Tim 3:1-9

One of the backbone doctrines behind the Roman Catholic position on the authority of Scripture is the notion that without a “governing body” (papacy, bishops, etc) the lay people are left without the ability to truly understand God’s word. This doesn’t seem to be an issue for Nehemiah and the people of Israel: “And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them” (Neh 8:12).

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Prov 12:1). The Goold paraphrase: “Smart people are thankful when corrected, but idiots hate it.”

The “revealing of the Son of Man” sounds, upon first consideration, as if it will be a great and glorious event. This is of course true, although apparently not all will see it this way. In making an analogy for it in Luke 17, Jesus chooses the flood of Noah’s day and the raining fire/sulfur in Sodom. Both are examples of destruction.

It seems that “learning” and “knowledge of the truth” aren’t necessarily in a horse-carriage relationship: “Always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2Tim 3:7).

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