The epistle continues the commendation of scripture to us as a firm foundation for a life of faith and ministry, this time in a Christian key. In this first half of our reading, Paul counsels his mentee to recall the lessons he has learned from a lifetime of immersion in scripture. Earlier, in the opening of the letter, Paul invokes not only his own teaching and mentoring of Timothy but also the formation Timothy received from his mother and grandmother. Within this family, within this young man, the gospel message and the stories upon which it is based are deeply rooted indeed.

But anxiety abounds also. Wicked impostors are attempting to deceive weak minds and lead the flock astray. Scripture can function as a guide, as a source of right teaching, as a reproof and rebuke of those who would misinform and misshape the naïve. It can also be misused to corrupt and mislead. Scripture, then, requires prayerful and faithful reading. Its open-endedness and ambiguities require a critical reception—what interpretation is faithful and what teaching deceives? The two possible translations of verse 16 illustrate this. Is it, as the text of the nrsv says, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful . . . for training in righteousness”? Or is it, as the critical note of the nrsv says it could be, “Every scripture inspired by God is also useful”?

Our gratitude for the received canon and the faithful witness of the church, therefore, is not simplistic but involves a lifetime of formation and discernment. Our seeking, again, is not for knowledge alone but for knowledge that clarifies and sustains our service to God, within the church, and for the increase of justice and mercy locally, nationally, and globally.

Our Way, Truth, and Life, we give you thanks for those who formed us—mothers, grandmothers, teachers—and for teachings that bring about justice. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 18:1-8

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Lectionary Week
October 10–16, 2022
Scripture Overview

At last Jeremiah is able to bring a message of restoration and hope. God promises a new covenant with the people, and they will internalize the law in their hearts so that they will keep it. The psalmist rejoices in such a reality. He meditates on God’s law all day and has been granted profound understanding. This allows him to walk faithfully in God’s paths. The reading from Second Timothy confirms the ongoing power of God’s law in scripture, which is given by God for our good. Timothy is charged always to be ready to preach it faithfully. Luke hits on a different theme: the importance of persistent prayer. In the parable a heartless judge finally yields to a persistent widow, so we should be similarly tenacious with our prayers to God.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Jeremiah 31:27-34. How have you broken your covenant with God? How has God responded?
Read Psalm 119:97-104. The Jewish laws of the Hebrew scriptures are part of our Christian heritage. How can you delight in the law?
Read 2 Timothy 3:14–4:5. How can you learn or teach from scriptures you do not normally read?
Read Luke 18:1-8. Through the familiar call to pray always, the author reminds us that we are called to pray for what God wants. What is at stake when you pray for justice and mercy?

Respond by posting a prayer.