This morning I have been listening to seminary lectures on Bible interpretation. I’ve been doing this from the enjoyment of my church office, with a cup of coffee and a space heater warming up the room.
During a break, I saw that 21 Egyptian Christians were just beheaded by Islamic terrorists. They died for being “people of the cross”.
I stopped to pray and to remember them and to call on God to send Christ and make things right in this world. But now, how can I, and why should I, continue listening to my lectures? What does Bible study have to do with martyrdom?
1. The martyrdom of these 21 men reminds me that this is not a purely academic pursuit. I am studying a book that 21 people just died for, that millions more have died for, and that one day I could die for.
2. It is only by studying the Bible and by hearing the word of the cross that I too can be considered a “person of the cross.”
3. It is only by studying the Bible that I can hope to make disciples, “people of the cross.”
4. It is only by studying the Bible that I can understand the martyrdom of God’s people in the scope of God’s redemptive purposes.
5. It is only by studying the Bible that I can find real courage and give real encouragement to the church to live–and die–as “people of the cross”.
There is much more to be said. I will continue to study the Scripture, remembering the stakes, remembering that there are men dying for this Book, and remembering that only this Book can give eternal life after death.