the stories we tell
2 Timothy 3:10-17
Read 2 Timothy 3. What are the competing story lines that Timothy encounters? Who are the competing characters?
Where are you most tempted to make yourself the central character in God’s story? Why is it vital for us to recognize that God’s Word is all about Him—not us?
I’m often disappointed with kids’ Bible story books. They usually paint a sugary picture that presents the Bible as a very safe and manageable book. Often, you get a collection of pithy moralisms that you could get just as well (better, perhaps) from Aesop’s Fables.
With this posture, the Bible’s truths have lost their scandal; they don’t require a cross or resurrection or God’s kingdom. In fact, they don’t require God at all. God is on the periphery. The feeding of the 5,000 is about a boy who shares. Israel crossing over the Red Sea is about a neat leader (Moses) with a cool stick that parts water. The great parable offering God as the good Father flooding the world with generosity becomes a tale about how we’re supposed to obey our parents.
Our problem is that we’ve learned to read the Bible as a story where we’re the central characters, and so we teach our kids to read the Bible as though they’re the central characters. But this is all wrong: God is in the spotlight.
In Paul’s letter to young Timothy, he reminded his protégé to remain true to the spiritual training he had received “from the holy Scriptures [since] childhood” (2 Timothy 3:15). This teaching was centered on “salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus” and truths that are not human but are “inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:15-16).
In other words, Timothy’s mother and grandmother told him what was most essential: They told him about God. It’s easy to forget that Scripture is about Him. The Bible tells us God’s story first—and we find our truest meaning only when we find our story in God’s story.
The stories we tell our children and ourselves really do matter. Let’s tell God’s story.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Kings 22:1–23:3
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