Lenten Season Lectio Divina Series: Abraham

During the Lenten season, we will be running a series of posts from Stephen Binz’s Ancient-Future Bible Study: Experience Scripture through Lectio Divina. For the next six Tuesdays, we will be posting from each of Binz’s entries in the series – beginning today with Abraham.

First, some background to the series and style:

“Ancient Future Bible Study unites contemporary study of the Bible with an experience of the church’s most ancient way of reading Scripture, lectio divina. By combining the old and the new in a fertile synthesis, this study helps modern people encounter the sacra pagina, the inspired text, as God intends it for the church. Through solid historical and literary study and the time-honored practice of lectio divina, the mind and the heart are brought into an experience of God through a careful and prayerful reading of the biblical texts (taken from Abraham, ix).”

For more on lectio divina (including a description of each of its movements) check out the excerpt from the Abraham study. You can also hear Stephen Binz’s description here.

Today’s study is called “Ancestor of Us All” and is taken from Abraham: Father of All Believers.

Ancestor of Us All

Lectio

Read this inspired text, listening for its fuller meaning in light of the whole plan of God.

Romans 4:11–12

11[Abraham] received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, 12 and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Continue exploring the meaning of Paul’s words through the tradition of the church.

In writing to the Christians in Rome, Paul demonstrates that Abraham is “the ancestor of all who believe” (v. 11). For the early church, this meant that both Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus, the circumcised and the uncircumcised, could enter a saving relationship with God and thus claim Abraham as their father. Neither is pitted against the other. All people can become descendants of Abraham by sharing his faith. In the life of Abraham, as Paul demonstrates, faith was the priority. Abraham was made righteous before God through his faithful trust. His circumcision was a subsequent seal of his righteousness, not the producer of his saving relationship with God. Thus Abraham is the bearer of God’s promised blessings to all people, not just the Jewish people. All who believe in the God of Abraham are Abraham’s children.

Meditatio

Consider the meaning of this Scripture passage in the context of your own life in Christ today.

In what ways do people sometimes erect unnecessary barriers that divide people rather than unify them?

How can faith in the God of Abraham be a means of dialogue and understanding among Jews, Christians, and Muslims?

Oratio

Respond in prayer with the hope that arises within you.

God of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, you have promised blessings to all the peoples of the earth. Open my heart to a spirit of forgiveness toward those who share my life, and help me be a minister of reconciliation to struggling and broken people. May the peace you desire for the world begin through an understanding of the inspired texts of our ancestors in faith. Enlighten and encourage me as I read and contemplate your inspired Word in these sacred Scriptures. Show me how to make my life a testimony to God’s love.

Continue to pray to God from your heart . . .

Contemplatio

Remain in quiet and place yourself under God’s loving gaze. Ask God to give you an experience of shalom (Hebrew), salaam (Arabic), peace.

Operatio

How can I best dedicate myself to the reflective study of these sacred texts of Abraham over the coming weeks? What regular place and time could I choose for the quiet practice of lectio divina?

How can faith in the God of Abraham be a means of dialogue and understanding among Jews, Christians, and Muslims?

Oratio

Respond in prayer with the hope that arises within you.

God of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, you have promised blessings to all the peoples of the earth. Open my heart to a spirit of forgiveness toward those who share my life, and help me be a minister of reconciliation to struggling and broken people. May the peace you desire for the world begin through an understanding of the inspired texts of our ancestors in faith. Enlighten and encourage me as I read and contemplate your inspired Word in these sacred Scriptures. Show me how to make my life a testimony to God’s love.

Continue to pray to God from your heart . . .

Contemplatio

Remain in quiet and place yourself under God’s loving gaze. Ask God to give you an experience of shalom (Hebrew), salaam (Arabic), peace.

©2011 by Stephen J. Binz. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without expressed written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on the Ancient-Future Bible Study series, click here.

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