Derek Johnson Muses

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Perpetual Students: Beggars at Christ’s Feet, with a word from Dr. Luther

I have a confession to make: there are times when I think that I have learned all of scripture and when it bores me. There are times when I forget the scriptures, would rather listen to sports talk radio, and I feel like I know everything in scripture. These are the moments when I am really a sad fool.

This all goes back to college, when I decided that I wasn’t going to go on to seminary. When I had begun to study Greek, I was really excited about getting to seminary and learning more about the New Testament and what it said. But as the years dragged on, and I moved into the advanced classes, I became bored with Greek, mainly because it came so easily to me. While there were other, more personal reasons as to why I did not go to seminary, my neglect of Greek and Hebrew is a regret in my mind, and I wish I would have pursued those studies more.

Now I’m a guy who makes it to Bible study when I can and listens to Issues ETC. in my truck. Granted, Issues, Etc. provides great teaching to me wherever I go and when I’m at home. I do read my devotions every day, but I still miss reading them in Greek. I guess I have no one to blame but myself for not taking up the study of scriptures. Many are the days when my head is filled with thoughts that don’t matter, even sinful thoughts. But then I remember that God works good even in spite of out sinfulness.

There are many times when I think to a book of the Bible like Romans, and I think to myself, man, I should really know what’s in that book. But I can’t think of it. What I remember now, is Paul begins with the law (the homosexual passages in chapter one get brought up in our current environment a lot), by chapter four he’s discussing the faith of Abraham, then moves on to the law, its place in the Christian’s life, Jews and Greeks, Paul enumerates his heart for his Jewish brothers and sisters, and then his final admonitions and greetings. Okay, so perhaps I remember a little more than I thought, but I just wish that I had more specific verses down in my head.

A few years ago, I bought a bunch of tapes of the New Testament and intended to listen to them in the car all the time, but I eventually got them fragmented all over the place. They helped me a little bit, and now, there are many times when I recall a parable of Jesus when I’m in the car, or out on a walk, or in bed. Psalms are easy to remember too, as well as anything that was put into song into some of the prayer offices I learned in college.

Whenever I struggle with this subject, I remember this quote by Luther in the Preface to the Large Catechism, “But for myself I say this: I am also a doctor and preacher, yea, as learned and experienced as all those may be who have such presumption and security; yet I do as a child who is being taught the Catechism, and ever morning, and whenever I have time, I read and say, word for word, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, etc. And I must still read and study daily, and yet I cannot master it as I wish, but must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and am glad so to remain. And yet these delicate, fastidious fellows would with one reading promptly be doctors above all doctors, know everything and be in need of nothing.” (LC 1, 7-8). It is very comforting to know that I can always be the catechisms’ student, as Dr. Luther was and many after him were. We can never stop learning from the Scripture, never read them enough.

Will I ever go back to the seminary? I don’t know, and that may not be important now; God’s given me His Scriptures to read, and I will joyfully do so


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