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Fireside chat, series one, Our Wesleyan Way: Searching scripture as a means of grace

By: Rev. Dan Bader, Southwest District Superintendent, Rev. Joel Winckler, Northwest District Superintendent, and Julie Stoll, Faulkton United Church

When we search the scripture, we do so to encounter God. We can encounter God in prayer, in creation, in worship, in community, and yes, in the scripture. Encountering God in scripture is one of the primary means of grace. 

Here is some background on searching scripture as a means of grace.

  • John Wesley preached that searching the Scriptures included hearing, reading, and meditating on God's word and taught that Scripture.
  • When we regularly read, listen, and meditate upon Scripture, we make ourselves available to the power of grace to form our thinking, our behavior, and our character.
  • Scripture shows the truth about who we are and about who God is, Miller says. This helps shape how we see others.

In this episode, we explore searching scripture as a means of grace. Joining Rev. Dan Bader in the conversation is Rev. Joel Winckler the Northwest District Superintendent. Joel lives and works out of Mandan, North Dakota. Also, joining the conversation is Julie Stoll, from the United Church of Faulkton in South Dakota.

Key scripture:

A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?”

Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”

He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”

But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, ‘Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs.’  What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?”

Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37, CEB

Key questions:

  1. When you think about scripture as a means of grace, what comes to mind?
  2. How would you interpret reading scripture as a means of grace?
  3. How would you go about searching the scripture Luke 10:25-37 or other scriptures? What questions or processes do you use?
  4. How can we extend what we learn from scripture to others? How do we share searching scripture as a means of grace with others?

Searching scriptures reveals grace-filled work of the Spirit: Emily Snell shares throughts from Rev. Wendy Miller of the Missional Wisdom Foundation 
and Rev. Steve Manskar, director of Wesleyan leadership at the General Board of Discipleship reagarding searching scripture as a means of grace.

Means of Grace: Hope in Search the Scripture: In this podcast from LeaderCast learn about how you encounter God, questions to ask when searching scripture, and why we search scripture. 

Why Christians search the scriptures: Andrew Thompson write
s in a blog that to understand the power of Holy Scripture, we must take it seriously in our study and devotion. Immerse ourselves in it.


Resources on the means of grace:

The Means of Grace: Ministry Matters responds to the questions—what are the “means of grace”? What does that phrase mean? United Methodists and other Methodists worldwide trace the phrase “means of grace” back to John Wesley. 

The Wesleyan Means of Grace: United Methodist Communications writes John Wesley taught that God's grace is unearned. As we look at the means of grace today, they can be divided into works of piety and the works of mercy.

Skits Guys–Grace: In this conversation between Jesus and Peter, grace is illustrated when Jesus forgives the unforgivable. A video by Skit Guys.

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