Scripture or not?

I had a bad day yesterday, and when I returned to my office, a student had taped a little scrap of paper to my door handle.  The paper said this:

Ephesians 1:16  🙂

I’ve gotten a note or six like this before and honestly rarely take the time to look up the reference.  Sometimes I know what’s in the verse; sometimes I don’t.  This time, I wasn’t sure, and about 18 hours later, I looked it up.  The “verse” says

do not cease giving thanks for you,

while making mention (of you) in my prayers (NASB)

There is no apparent regard for the paragraph as a whole.  Moreover, there is no regard for the book- (or, in this case, letter-) level context.

The passage isn’t even a complete sentence.

What God was saying through Paul to a probably broad group of Ephesus-area churches doesn’t much resemble what someone was saying to me by leaving the paper on my door handle.  The paper I received referred to scripture; however, I would suggest that words of Ephesians 1:16 ended up being not scripture, because they were not used in any contextually sensitive manner.  Considered as part of “God’s Word,” according to what I firmly believe is a rational and spiritual way to view and apprehend scripture, this little “Ephesians 1:16” message really means very little to me.

However, as part of the caring expression of a less hermeneutically educated but very sincere younger sister, “Ephesians 1:16” does mean a great deal to me, and I’m grateful for the thought.

Postscript:  Inertia has reared its weighty pate.  The break I have taken since my last blogpost is the longest in more than two years.  The break was unplanned, but necessary, given other things in life.  I added to the difficulty in getting started again by mentioning that the last post, which I didn’t feel was all that coherent, was # 776 — implying that the next one, this one, #777 (a perfect number) would be expected to be good.  I have decided that I needed just to get started again, so I wrote this one up quickly.  It is not presented as particularly good, but it is from the heart, and it does deal with at least two important things–1) Christian care for one another and 2) the use of scripture. 

3 thoughts on “Scripture or not?

  1. Rachel 09/30/2011 / 5:23 pm

    I like that you were able to both a) realize the lack of hermeneutics and b) still appreciate the intent of the writer. These days I am more and more inclined to notice when scripture is taken out of context, but sometimes I know I can be distracted by that (“…but that’s not what that passage of scripture means!!! If they knew it meant ____, they would NOT have used it there…”), thus missing the sincerity of what the person was trying to say, when they very well may have had something good to say.

    And…it’s good to see you blogging again!


    • Brian Casey 10/01/2011 / 8:41 am

      Thanks for affirming both things I wanted to say in that post … which obviously means you stayed with it until the end. (It would be easy for a less thorough person to quit in the middle, annoyed by the apparent midstream lack of appreciation of sincerity in the scripture-note-leaver!)


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