“…the lying pen of the scribes…”
Jeremiah 8:8 (ESVUK)
The 3rd May was World Press Freedom Day.
As a society we appreciate both the freedom of the Press and unbiased, responsible reporting. I’ve visited and stayed in countries where journalists cannot report freely because their government interferes. Autocrats and corrupt politicians often prevent information from being published in order to protect their vested interests. In addition, they may produce their own versions of news events and thus suppress the truth. Even here in the UK the politics and biases of writers, editors and publishers sometimes influence how the news is reported in our daily newspapers.
Scribes were held in high regard in the ancient world, and could be regarded as the journalists of their age. They would prepare court announcements for kings and governors, note details about wars, record important documents, and copy sacred writings. They were supposed to write down things faithfully and not to insert their own ideas and biases into the text. At the time of Jeremiah the scribes would report God’s instructions and the words of the prophets, often reciting their own copies of scriptures at key festivals and meetings. The problem is that their reporting was prejudicial. They had their own amoral and selfish agenda that came through not only in what they wrote and taught but also in their lifestyles.
About 600 years later Christians were assigned by the Holy Spirit to report to others on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The task was and is still to tell Christ’s story through all that we write, say, and do. Sadly, however, it was not long before some began to “distort the Gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7), sometimes reporting out of “selfish ambition” (Philippians 1:17 NIV). This brings to mind Jeremiah’s “lying pen of the scribes”. Paul’s point is that, as the believer proclaims the Gospel, he or she should do so responsibly, without any visible or hidden agendas, letting our “manner of life be worthy of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:27).
Let’s use our freedom to report the good news of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Help me please, Loving Father, through the Holy Spirit, to report faithfully the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.
Study by James Henderson
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