Sunday, June 24, 2012

Be Thou My Vision

“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him…” (Ephesians 1:17)

“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
Thou and thou only, first in my heart,
Great God of heaven, my treasure thou art.

Great God of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.”

[--Ancient Irish lyrics translated by Mary E. Byrne, 1905, cited from The United Methodist Hymnal #451]

May this prayer be yours as you seek to discover and follow the wisdom, will, ways, and timing of God in your life! Remember that God loves you and I do, too!


  1. Brian, I'm going to comment on today's sermon here because I am not finding anything more germane to the topic. I enjoy Proverbs very much, and I enjoyed today's sermon as well. I have one question based on what I perceived you to say today. Please don't take this as argumentative. I'm merely asking a question.

    On point 2B-Tradition I think I heard you say, "The Bible is a product of tradition..." This sparked me to wonder what your opinion is on the Bible? The question I have is what do you say the Bible is? There is a follow up question I'll post after this concerning your statement that "...we're not sure who the author of Proverbs was..." that is also not argumentative, merely seeking in a nature. Thanks.

  2. Mark, Thanks for being such a close listener, and for the great questions. I actually expected you to ask a question(s) at some point on my comment about the Bible being a product of tradition (I mean this in a good way)... I just figured you would have some questions about it . :-)

    My answer is… the Bible is God’s word, authoritative in all things regarding salvation (i.e., how one finds and grows in a relationship with God). The fact that it was written by human hands does not alter that fact/reality, or make it any less authoritative. After all, Christians believe that God works primarily through human beings to accomplish His plans and purposes in our world – the work and stories of Abraham, Moses, David, the Prophets, Mary & Joseph, the Apostles, Paul, Timothy, and of course “the Word [become] flesh” (John 1:14) himself (Jesus) are all examples of this reality.

    This does not in any way prevent God from working directly in history or time, bypassing humans altogether (indeed, many of the miracles of the Bible and visions of God’s people illustrate this), but the fact of the matter is that more often than not, the Bible is the story of God working through God’s PEOPLE to accomplish and carry out His will on earth. So, why should His written word to the world be any different? It is always and everywhere “the word of God,” shared through the people of God.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 perhaps says it best in describing the Bible’s nature and purpose, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof , for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”

    As for your question about the authorship of Proverbs, I was simply sharing what is, in fact, the reality among the academic community -- i.e., there are so many different scholarly opinions as to WHO wrote it (one CONSERVATIVE Bible commentary that I have identifies at least FIVE potential authors or groups of authors) that there is obviously no clear consensus = hence my comment that “we don’t really know who wrote it.” If we did, there would not be so many author candidates to choose from.

    Yes, Proverbs 1:1 calls it “the proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel,” but most reputable scholars (both conservative AND liberal) recognize that in Bible times, books were often written by someone and then ascribed to someone ELSE famous in order both to honor them and/or to get people to read them (plagiarism was not illegal back then). In the end, it doesn’t matter WHO wrote it or collected and published these sayings in the form we have today, because its words are “inspired by God” (the 2 Timothy 3 passage) regardless, and thus still just as authoritative as if Solomon himself wrote it. For all we know, maybe Solomon DID write it, but it doesn’t change its’ authority from God even if he didn’t.
    I hope this helps.