Each morning before work I have enough time to study one or if I'm lucky two verses from the bible. When life gets busy, consistency is more important than quantity. And the advantage of this way is that I have to confront every individual verse for what it means and how it might apply to me. I can't gloss over the parts that don't stand out to me straight away or where the meaning is not immediately evident. This week I have been reading the last few verses in Colossians: "After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea. Tell Archippus: 'See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.' "(Colossians 4:16-17) Imagine me scratching my head thinking, "how is this relevant to me??". When we're scrounging around for application points in a passage we often fall back on telling ourselves to follow the example of the people in the passage. So am I to make sure other churches read the letter to the Colossians? Or tell my minister to complete the ministry he has received in the Lord? I hope you can see that "example following" is not in every instance the right application point. Then it dawns on me: it's not all about me. These verses aren't relevant to me because they weren't meant for me. Here Paul expresses his personal concern for the church at Colossae and Laodicea. Here we see his personal encouragement (or admonition?) to Archippus. Think about how these people felt to know that they were in Paul's heart. We get a little insight into Paul and his concern for other people. These verses for most people will not be directly relevant to our belief or behaviour, because they were only relevant to the original audience of this letter. There's nothing specific for us to do in response to these verses, other than to praise God that the Colossians did obey these commands so that we too can read this letter 2000 years later. Will you read the bible with me this week seeking to see through the eyes of the original readers first, before considering whether the relevance to them is the same relevance to us?
It's not all about me???
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