Stewardship of God’s Word: Reading the Bible Reflectively

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

These words from Psalm 119:105 are words that stir the hearts of Christian stewards; for stewards of the Lord long for His word to guide every aspect of their life and journey.

February is a transitional month. Many of us begin to hope that spring is around the next corner. The first seed catalogue we find in the mail reminds us this must be true, yet we know it’s not time to turn the soil. We wait in the quiet of late winter.

What better time than February to settle in for some reading and praying with sacred scripture? Our liturgical year provides us with a wonderful pathway to the Bible by providing Lectionary readings for each day. Our Sunday Gospel readings this year come to us mainly from Saint Mark. This Gospel, which scholars believe was the first to be written, is ideal for spending time with the Lord in quiet meditation.

The Gospel of Saint Mark is perhaps, stylistically, the simplest of the four Gospels, and certainly the shortest. One could read the entirety of Saint Mark in one sitting, and you may choose to do that. But then go back and read the Gospel slowly, more reflectively. Consider just one episode in the Gospel in each sitting. Put yourself into the scene. See what words strike a chord in you. Ask Christ to help you know him through the Gospel reading.

One of the best-loved lines of scripture is presented to us on a Sunday early in February. Speaking of Jesus, the Gospel writer affirms that, “In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house and went off to a lonely place to pray …” (Mk. 1:35). The Gospels teach us that Jesus himself prayed to his Father, and employed the Hebrew scriptures of his own tradition. When we see Jesus, long before dawn, going off to be alone with his Father, we know that he brought with him the words of scripture which were planted as seeds within him.

One of the hallmarks of Saint Mark’s Gospel is his frequent, insistent use of the phrase, “at once.” He writes with a forceful sense of immediacy. Reading Saint Mark, one senses that the important work of following Christ should not be put off, but must be done “at once.”

Christian stewards long for the seeds of scripture to be planted in their own hearts. They know God’s gift of time carries with it a sense of immediacy. The month of February, a time transition, is a perfect time to deepen our knowledge of Christ through scripture.

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