Presented August 1, 2018 to the Bible Faculty Summit, Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina.
Paul affirmed to Timothy the authority, capacity, and sufficiency of the Scriptures for the adequacy of the believer.1 In similar fashion Jesus applied the sufficiency of Scripture in responding to His testing by Satan. Yet in close proximity to both instances we observe the employment of extra-Biblical resources in complementing the situation. In Paul’s case, even as he exhorts Timothy to faithfulness in the word, he acknowledges value in Timothy’s attentiveness to not only what Paul taught and wrote, but to his experiences as well.2 In Jesus’ case, He acknowledges there is a place for bread, though it ought not be viewed as the sole source of life.3 Likewise, after His testing He was the beneficiary of angelic ministry.4
Sam Weller, associate professor of creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and authorized biographer of Ray Bradbury, recently published an article in The Chicago Tribune that got me thinking: “Without school librarians, we’re on a dystopian path.”
In his commentary he expresses his concern about cuts in staff and funding for school libraries. During a visit to rural Shawnee, Oklahoma, he found out that their school library received no funding whatsoever for new library books in 2016. In Wichita, Kansas, certified librarians were being replaced by clerks. The Kansas Department of Education has reduced the number of certified librarians in their state by 31%. The number of school librarians in the Chicago public school system has dropped from 454 to 160.
Mr. Weller reminds the reader that Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 depicts a dystopian society that no longer values reading and education.
Words mean things, and I realize the word “limitations” has negative connotations. We think of a limitation as a restriction, a drawback. Our culture places enormous value on ignoring and overcoming limitations; an attitude that has resulted in some amazing discoveries and astonishing progress.
However, this mindset isn’t applicable across the board. Limits are often natural and helpful; they keep us safe from harm, morally, physically, and spiritually.
We are limited by the 24-hour day, our income, the available resources where we live. God is aware of these limits, and beating the air because we are not content with our state is fruitless.
So why do we so often set expectations for ourselves that would render Martha Stewart catatonic?