weekly word – 8/31/23

Holy Quills and Medical Bills

In 2 Peter 1:2-21, Peter describes how God brought Scripture to us, “Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." This means that human beings delivered Scripture as God guided their minds.

That’s a simple concept; but how did it work out in practice? How much of Scripture is from the author and how much is from God? Without getting too exhaustive, there is an example that serves well to demonstrate what Peter is saying.

Consider how Mark and Luke describe the woman Jesus healed from a hemorrhage:

“And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse…” (Mark 5:25-26) 

“A woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years, who had spent all she had on doctors and yet could not be healed by any…” (Luke 8:43)

Observe how Mark’s description of the woman’s affliction emphasizes the failures of the doctors. They had made her “endure much”. The woman was “not helped at all” and she “had grown worse” despite (or perhaps because of) their efforts. 

On the other hand, you can see Luke writes that “she could not be healed by any.” He’s  emphasizing that the woman’s affliction simply could not be healed! He would rather focus on that than the incompetence of her doctors.

Both of these statements are true, Spirit-inspired descriptions of the woman’s doctors and suffering. But only one of these two descriptions was written by a physician: Luke’s. Colossians 4:14 says, “Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.” Luke, as a physician would have naturally had a different perspective on doctors from Mark, the writer, and Peter, the fisherman.

Indeed, God engages the work of a variety of evangelists, historians, and prophets to speak about the same periods in multiple places throughout the symphony of His word so that we, the readers, can see His truth more clearly through them. His use of a variety of authors reminds me of 1 Corinthians 12:18-19, “But now God has appointed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?” 

In a world today that is very divided about the medical establishment, I find it encouraging to observe that God used medical critics and medical practitioners to write His infallible, inerrant word. He works the same way in His church; bringing many different people together all to accomplish His great commission of making disciples. It is not God’s nature to show favoritism; but to use many different kinds of people to accomplish His perfect work. 

Pastor David