September 5 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.” ~Proverbs 7:21

OLD TESTAMENT

The sage writes a lengthy poem about the seductive dangers of the adulteress (chapter 7). In vivid language, he tells about watching a young man from the window of his house. The fellow falls for the old tricks of a wayward woman. She promises him a good time, but it is a trap. “Her house is the highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death” (Prov. 7:27).

Solomon wants to spare his children pain. He has seen (and experienced) the snares of sexual escapades. As a follow up, he picks up a favored topic and composes a poem in praise of wisdom. We would do well to get as much wisdom as we can! Those who long for it will find it. They will also find life and the favor of God (Prov. 8:34-35).

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul issues a rebuke to the Corinthian church that is as relevant today as it was in the first century. The reproach is in the form of two rhetorical questions: “Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?” (1 Cor. 14:36). How many churches, like the church at Corinth, carry on as though they are the only Christians on the planet! Rather than listening to the voices of the larger church, they strike out on their own with curious ecclesiastical and doctrinal innovations. I call it cul-de-sac Christianity, and I have seen it in churches of all stripes—fundamentalist, evangelical, charismatic, and liturgical communities. I remember hearing a famous fundamentalist preacher say, “I’m going to share something that you have never heard before.” Boy, was he right! When people make these kinds of curious claims, we need to be skeptical.

The church is nearly 2 billion strong and nearly 2,000 years old. There is wisdom in the “Great Tradition,” as Christian historians have called it. And there is wisdom in the “great democracy of the dead,” to use G. K. Chesterton. We can and must learn from each other. I can find much to admire, study, and attempt when observing other pastors, theologians, denominations, and church communities in North America, Africa, and the far corners of the earth. If I believe that God speaks to all of His people (and I do), then I must be open to how He might speak to me through them!

The Corinthian church revels in their innovative worship services; its worship is weird and the people are ok with that. But Paul isn’t. He points them to the larger church and calls for order! Don’t strike out on your own in the Christian faith or in your local church. This is not a do-it-yourself religion. We are part of a growing community of people who hear God’s Word and live it out.


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.