Feb 8 Devotional Bible Study

February 8, 2022
Epiphanytide

Today’s Readings: 

  1. 1 Samuel 9:15—10:1b, The call of Saul
    • Lesson: Inferiority complex
  2. 1 Timothy 3:1-9, Qualities needed by church leaders
    • Lesson: Bishops should be blameless
  3. The “Orders” in Church Government

Invocation

O Lord open thou my lips 

And my mouth shall declare thy praise. 

O God + come to my assistance; 

O Lord, make haste to help me. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * 

and to the Holy Ghost. 

As it was in the beginning, is now, * 

and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Opening Prayer

O God,

     Rescue all 

          Who sing praises to You as Three,

          And confess and sing to You as One

               With sacred hymns.

     You reign forever.

Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“O for a thousand tongues”

By Charles Wesley

Lyrics:

O for a thousand tongues to sing my dear Redeemer’s praise, 

The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace! 

My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim 

And spread through all the earth abroad the honors of your Name. 

Jesus! The Name that charms our fears and bids our sorrows cease; 

‘Tis music in the sinners’ ears, ’tis life and health and peace. 

He speaks; and, listening to his voice, new life the dead receive, 

The mournful broken hearts rejoice, the humble poor believe. 

Hear him, you deaf, you voiceless ones, your loosened tongues employ; 

You blind, behold, your Savior comes; and leap, you lame, for joy! 

Glory to God and praise and love be now and ever given 

By saints below and saints above, the Church in earth and heaven. [2]


Morning Prayer

This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen. [3]

Short Verse

LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;* hearken, O God of Jacob.

Psalm 84:7
Saul depicted in a detail from an 1878 oil painting by Ernst Josephson

Morning Reading

1 Samuel 9:15—10:1b, The call of Saul

15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be ruler over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have seen the suffering of[a] my people, because their outcry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you. He it is who shall rule over my people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel inside the gate, and said, “Tell me, please, where is the house of the seer?” 19 Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer; go up before me to the shrine, for today you shall eat with me, and in the morning I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind. 20 As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, give no further thought to them, for they have been found. And on whom is all Israel’s desire fixed, if not on you and on all your ancestral house?” 21 Saul answered, “I am only a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel, and my family is the humblest of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin. Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”

22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant-boy and brought them into the hall, and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, of whom there were about thirty. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion I gave you, the one I asked you to put aside.” 24 The cook took up the thigh and what went with it[b] and set them before Saul. Samuel said, “See, what was kept is set before you. Eat; for it is set[c] before you at the appointed time, so that you might eat with the guests.”[d]

So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 When they came down from the shrine into the town, a bed was spread for Saul[e] on the roof, and he lay down to sleep.[f] 26 Then at the break of dawn[g] Samuel called to Saul upon the roof, “Get up, so that I may send you on your way.” Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.

 

27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the boy to go on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.” 10 1 Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, “The Lord has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around. Now this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you ruler[h] over his heritage:

Morning Lesson

Inferiority complex

“Why then have you spoken to me in this way?” “Saul’s outburst reveals a problem he would face repeatedly—feeling inferior. Like a leaf tossed about by the wind, Saul vacillated between his feelings and his convictions. Everything he said and did was selfish because he was worried about himself. For example, Saul said his clan was “the least important” in the smallest tribe in Israel, but 1 Samuel 9:1 says his father was “a wealthy, influential man.” (The tribe of Benjamin was the smallest because they were nearly wiped out as punishment for their immorality—see Judg 19–21.) Saul didn’t want to face the responsibility God had given him. Later, Saul kept some war plunder that he shouldn’t have and then tried to blame his soldiers (1 Sam 15:21) while claiming that they had really taken it to sacrifice to God (1 Sam 15:15).” [4]

“Although Saul had been called by God and had a mission in life, he struggled constantly with jealousy, insecurity, arrogance, impulsiveness, and deceit. He did not decide to be wholeheartedly committed to God. Because Saul would not let God’s love give rest to his heart, he never became God’s man.” [5]

“When an Israelite king took office, he was not only crowned, he was also anointed. The coronation was the political act of establishing the king as ruler; the anointing was the religious act of making the king God’s representative to the people. A king was always anointed by a priest or prophet. The special anointing oil was a mixture of olive oil, myrrh, and other expensive spices. It was poured over the king’s head to symbolize the presence and power of the Holy Spirit of God in his life. This anointing ceremony was to remind the king of his great responsibility to lead his people by God’s wisdom and not his own.” [6]

[28]

Midday Prayer

God of mercy, this midday moment of rest is your welcome gift. Bless the work we have begun, make good its defects, and let us finish it in a way that pleases you. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

  • Liturgy Of The Hours, Vol. III [7]

Short Verse

May the glory of the LORD endure for ever;* may the LORD rejoice in all his works.

Psalm 104:32

Midday Reading

1 Timothy 3:1-9, Qualities needed by church leaders

1 The saying is sure:[a] whoever aspires to the office of bishop[b] desires a noble task. 2 Now a bishop[c] must be above reproach, married only once,[d] temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way— 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.

8 Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money; 9 they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

Midday Lesson

Bishops should be blameless

“Bishop means “overseer,” an elder (4:14; 5:17). Later in the first century bishop came to designate a presiding elder.” [8] ”In his Epistles, Paul speaks of the bishop in the singular, while deacons and presbyters, or hierarchical elders, are normally referred to in the plural, thus giving evidence to the early development of the division of Holy Orders. The office of bishop (from the Greek episkopos, meaning “overseer”) referred to the head of a community of the faithful, whose role included being the chief presider, catechist, and administrator of the Christian community as well as being an example of holiness. Today, we describe the bishop as a successor of the Apostles who shepherds his local Church in his threefold responsibility of sanctifying, teaching, and governance.” [9]

St. John Chrysostom on blamelessness: “Every virtue is implied in this word. [The bishop’s] life should be unspotted so that all should look up to him, and make his life the model of their own.” [10] “In the early Church, a bishop could be married. Today married men may be ordained to the… priesthood. The Sixth Ecumenical Council (681) sanctioned celibate bishops, but only as a special dispensation relative to the feeling that it was not acceptable for a bishop to live with a woman. Married bishops are in accordance with the general teaching of… canon law.” [11]

“Deacons of the first century were an outgrowth of the seven men chosen to assist the Apostles (cf. Acts 6:1-6). Of these, Stephen, who was martyred in the presence of Paul (Saul) when he was still a persecutor of Christians, was perhaps the most striking example. Like bishops, a deacon could be married only once… They were ordained to serve in a variety of tasks under priests and bishops—primarily in care of the poor, the sick, and the widowed— although, as with Stephen, they were soon preaching alongside the Apostles… The Council of Nicæa (AD 325) recognized that deaconesses are lay women appointed to particular tasks but specified their… difference from those men ordained to the diaconate. The work of deaconesses likely involved teaching and service, specifically regarding female catechumens.” [12]


Eventide Prayer

O Lord God,

Life of mortals,

Light of the faithful,

strength of those who labor,

and the rest for your saints,

give us a peaceful night

free of all trouble,

that after quiet sleep

we may enjoy your blessings

at the return of the light,

and be empowered by your Holy Spirit,

and moved to give you thanks.

Amen.

  • Mozarabic Rite, 7th-8th century [13]

Short Verse

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,* abides under the shadow of the Almighty. He shall say to the LORD, “You are my refuge and my stronghold,* my God in whom I put my trust.”

Psalm 91:1–2

Eventide Reading

The “Orders” in Church Government

Through whom does the Church carry out its mission? “The church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members.” [14] Who are the ministers of the Church? “The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.” [15] “The New Testament teaches that all four “orders” which form the government of the Church – laity, deacons, presbyters, and bishops — are necessary to the proper functioning of the body of Christ. All four are clearly visible in Paul’s first letter to Timothy.” [16]

  1. {Laity} “The laity are also called “saints” (Rom 1:7; 2Co 1:1; 1Ti 5:10), the “faithful” (Eph 1:1), and “brethren” (Col 1:2). The laity (Gr. laos) are the people of God, the “priesthood” (1Pt 2:4-10). Technically, the term “laity” includes the clergy, though in our day the word usually refers to those in the Church who are not ordained. It is from among the laity that the other three orders emerge.” [17] What is the ministry of the laity? “The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.” [18]
  1. {Deacons} “The deacons, literally “servants,” are ordained to serve the Church and must meet high qualifications (1Ti 3:8–13). The apostles were the first to take on the service tasks of deacons, and when the workload became too great they called for “seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:3). Besides serving the material needs of the people, deacons occupy a crucial role in the liturgical life of the Church.” [19] What is the ministry of a deacon? “The ministry of a deacon is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a servant of those in need; and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments.” [20]
  1. {Presbyters} “The presbyters, or elders, are visible throughout the New Testament. Their ministry from the start was to “rule,” “labor in the word,” and teach true “doctrine” (1Ti 5:17) in the local congregation. Paul “appointed elders in every church” (Acts 14:23) and later instructed his apostolic apprentice, Titus, to do the same in Crete (Tts 1:5). From the word “presbyter” came the shorter form “prest,” which finally became “priest.” In no way is the ordained Christian priesthood seen as a throwback to or a reenacting of the Old Testament priesthood. Rather, joined to Christ who is our High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 5:6, 10), the… priest is likewise a minister of a new covenant that supersedes the old.” [21] What is the ministry of a priest (presbyter)? “The ministry of a priest is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as pastor to the people; to share with the bishop in the overseeing of the Church; to proclaim the Gospel; to administer the sacraments; and to bless and declare pardon in the name of God.” [22]
  1. {Bishop} “The bishop is the “overseer” of the congregation and clergy in a given area. Often the terms “bishop” and “elder” are used interchangeably in the New Testament (Acts 20:17, 28), with the bishop being the leader of the elders. The qualifications for bishop listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:7-9 underscore this role. Nonetheless, the bishopric is a specific office both in the New Testament and in the early Church. The Twelve were the first to hold this office in Acts 1:20 (“office” could literally be translated “bishopric”) and they in turn consecrated other bishops to follow them. For example, Timothy and Titus are clearly of a separate order from that of elder (see iTi 5:17-22; Tts 1:5). Early records show James was bishop of Jerusalem by AD 49 and functioned accordingly at the first council there (Acts 15:13-22). Peter is on record as the first bishop of Antioch prior to AD 53, and later first bishop of Rome, where he was martyred about AD 65.” [23] What is the ministry of a bishop? “The ministry of a bishop is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as apostle, chief priest, and pastor of a diocese; to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the whole Church; to proclaim the Word of God; to act in Christ’s name for the reconciliation of the world and the building up of the Church; and to ordain others to continue Christ’s ministry.” [24]

“Perhaps the strongest early reference outside the New Testament to the presence of the four orders in church government occurs in the writings of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch from AD 67-107, the very heart of the New Testament era. To the church at Philadelphia (see Rev 3:7-13) he writes of ‘Christians [laity] at one with the bishop and the presbyters and the deacons.’” [25]

In the Church, “authority is resident in all four orders, with the bishop providing the center of unity. His authority is not over the Church, but within the Church. He is an icon of Jesus Christ, ‘the Shepherd and Overseer [lit., bishop] of your souls’ (1Pt 2:25). Church leadership does not consist of one or more of the orders functioning without the others. Rather the Church, with Christ as Head, is conducted like a symphony orchestra, a family, the body of Christ, where all the members in their given offices work together as the dwelling place of the Holy Trinity.” [26]

Compline Prayer

Before the ending of the day, Creator of the world, we pray That with thy wonted favor thou Wouldst be our guard and keeper now. [27]


Citations:

[1] Stratman, P. (2001). [adapted from] Morning Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 13). Rossway.

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 47). New York, NY: Image Books.

[3] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Ministration of the Sick. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 461). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 1 Samuel. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5552). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Ibid. 4

[7] Tickle, P. (2000). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 15). New York, NY: Image Books.

[8] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Timothy. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1665). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[9] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 Timothy. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3642). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[10] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Timothy. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1665). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[11] Ibid. 10

[12] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 Timothy. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3642). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[13] Stratman, P. (2001). Evening Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 20). Crossway.

[14] Episcopal Church. (1979). Catechism. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 855). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[15] Ibid. 14

[16] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). The Four “Orders” in Church Government [Article]. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1665). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[17] Ibid. 16

[18] Episcopal Church. (1979). Catechism. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 855). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). The Four “Orders” in Church Government [Article]. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1665). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[20] Episcopal Church. (1979). Catechism. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 856). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[21] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). The Four “Orders” in Church Government [Article]. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1665). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[22] Episcopal Church. (1979). Catechism. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 856). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[23] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). The Four “Orders” in Church Government [Article]. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1665). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[24] Episcopal Church. (1979). Catechism. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 855). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[25] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). The Four “Orders” in Church Government [Article]. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1666). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[26] Ibid. 25

[27] Bellarmine, G. (2021). May 7: Compline. In The Roman Breviary in English, in Order, Every Day for October, November, and December 2021 (Kindle ed., p. 1849). Christian Books Today.

[28] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Saul [Profile]. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 438). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

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