Reflecting, then Reflection, on Scripture

Let's not just react to our two theological commentators; let's follow in their footsteps.

First, choose a passage from Galatians (say, three to six verses) and a passage from Luke that you want to interact deeply with. These might relate to one another in some way, especially since we have been talking about what salvation entails, and that is a concern of both books; but they do not need to relate to one another. Choose passages that have engaged you for some reason as you read the commentaries, that seem theologically promising, and that you would like to wrestle with at greater length.

Next, over spring break, commit these passages to memory. Scripture memorization was an ancient spiritual practice; this way they will be with you over the break, and perhaps for the rest of your life.

Meditate on your passages over break. Don't just reflect autobiographically; reflect theologically. If you don't know what that means, well, think of how our commentaries have been treating scripture passages! That's theological reflection. You may want to jot down notes occasionally on what is coming to mind as you reflect on them, but that is not a requirement.

After break, and no earlier than the very end of break, move to the next stage of writing this assignment, where you write up your results:

Write your own brief theological commentary on each of your passages, without recourse to the two commentaries we have read. Then review Jeffrey and Luther (of course the material on your passages, but also surrounding material and perhaps the forewords or other sections where their whole approach is in full view) and add comparative observations, but in footnotes only.

Fun, isn't it?

Scripture is the standard by which we measure our stories' faithfulness to the archetypical story of God in Christ. The Bible is the authoritative narrator of the narrative in which we become characters and find our place. To know it is to know what we need to know most. Not to know it is not to know why we are here, where we are going, who sent us, or who we are – to be out of touch in our own world. I hope you are learning that the whole Christian life is a theological commentary on Scripture.

Please keep your paper four pages or so, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my handout for writing papers. Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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