Through the Bible in a Year – February 1

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Job 18-19; Acts 7:17-60; Psalm 40

As the anger of the High Priest and those around him is aroused by Stephen’s truthful description of those who would say ‘We have no King but Caesar’, so Job in his integrity, in his steadfast faith in the vindication of God arouses the ire of Bildad.

As the world hides in the death of deceit, so Truth and Light cannot but provoke a response. Stephen in recounting the story of the children of Israel speaks of their continual rebellion against God, speaks Light into the present darkness which surrounds him. Although to our eyes, his circumstances turn ever darker a remarkable transformation is seen in his vision. As Job in the midst of his suffering cries our in Hope ‘I know that my redeemer liveth and that on the last day he will stand upon the earth and that in my flesh I shall see him, I an not another – how my heart burns within me’, so Stephen increasingly is full of light. He is full of the Spirit. The Light and Truth of the whole creation is seen in him ‘and he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He sees his redeemer – he Witnesses to Life and Light and at the Last as his Lord had done prayed forgiveness for those who slew him.

‘they threw their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul . . . and Saul approved of their killing him’ . . . the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not comprehended it, the darkness has not overcome it.

Through the Bible in a Year – January 31

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Job 15-17; Acts 6:1-7:16; Psalm 39

Although our reading scheme takes us through the Old Testament chronologically – [the book of Job is read after Genesis as it is impossible to date with surety, and many consider it to be amongst the oldest of writings] – reading a Psalm and the Old and New Testament together gradually alerts us to the ways in which all of Scripture refers back and forth to itself. It is all but impossible to pray Psalm 39, and not find ourselves praying with Job, who remained silent seven days but then burst forth in speech before God, who asks that the Lord withdraw his hand from him.

And to read of Job, who was righteous like no other, who seems to suffer through no fault of his own and therein also to see Stephen – one full of wisdom and the Spirit – also righteous, and also now suffering. Stephen then in his answer to his accusers draws us back into this story, all the time the text calling to us, ‘All of Life is here – here are words of Life.’

And Stephen himself, chosen to wait on tables, to see to the daily distribution of food. As a faithful disciple his very life directs us to the Living One. Once more, the word, this time enacted directs us to The Word – the one who is full of the Spirit and Wisdom – and who took the form of a servant and gave us the bread from heaven.