Abandoned Bible/Flickr photo by Patrick Feller

Viewpoints: What’s your favorite Scripture or inspiring text?

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Viewpoints is a SpokaneFāVS feature where our writers respond to a weekly question. Readers are invited to participate by posting in the comment section below.

BibleGateway.com reports that John 3:16 is the most popular Bible verse:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

So we asked our writers: “What’s your favorite passage of Scripture or inspiring text?”

Matthew Sewell: A reminder from Peter

Matthew Sewell
Matthew Sewell

Mine is from the Gospel of John:

“When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.” (21:4;7-8)
Aside from the fact that I picture Forrest Gump jumping out of the Jenny when he sees Lieutenant Dan sitting on the shore, this verse always makes me smile. I never tire of reflecting on the profound love Peter must have had for the Lord, the excitement he felt in that moment, considering he jumped out of the flippin’ boat and did his best 100-yard freestyle for Jesus. He couldn’t even wait for the boat to get there!
It’s a good reminder to me that what Peter showed — the enthusiasm, the overflowing joy, the gratitude — is what I should constantly strive for in my own relationship with Jesus.

Steven Simmons: From great scientists

Steven Simmons
Steven Simmons

Very often, what inspires my humanist worldview are the writings and sayings of great scientists such as Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Oliver Sacks, and Richard Feynman.

The video I’ve chosen to share has put some beautiful imagery to a monologue by Richard Feynman, who was a Nobel-Prize-winning theoretical physicist, explaining how he finds beauty in the world through exploration.

“I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.”

Hyphen Parent: On justice

Hyphen Parent
Hyphen Parent

From the Torah, my favorite is from Shoftim, “Tzedek Tzedek Terdof.”

“Justice, justice shall you pursue.” (Deut 16:20)

My favorite religious text (and one of my favorite texts ever) is from Rabbi Hillel and falls into the same theme.

“If I’m not for myself, who will be for me. If I’m only for myself, what am I? If not now when?”

In Judaism, faith isn’t simply how we believe. It’s very much how we behave. We’re charged with fighting for justice in the world. We’re responsible for working for those around us and we’re also responsible for working for ourselves. We have the power and the responsibility to help.

Neal Schindler: From Einstein

Neal Schindler
Neal Schindler

“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.” (Albert Einstein)

Nicholas Damascus: Change comes from within

In Romans 12: 1-2, Saint Paul says, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.   And do not be conformed to this world, but “be transformed by the renewing of your mind (mind meaning the nous, the mind of the soul, the eye of the soul),” that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

This inspiring passage encompasses the theme of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. The implication is that the change has to come from within and not just from intellectual understanding. Saint Paul speaks of this change from within as “theosis” a transformative process and a journey, to refrain from our sinful nature of the flesh and to seek the holy nature of God.  Through union with Christ, we become by grace what God is by nature which for us is the purpose of our human existence.  Being is communion.

Theosis is scripturally described in the following two verses.

John 17:22-23:  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:   I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

II Peter 1:4: By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

And finally, our faith, what we profess to believe, should be reflected in our behavior, the conformation of the “change within.”

Eric Blauer: My life verse

Eric Blauer
Eric Blauer

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans‬ ‭11:36‬

This is my life verse and it’s like my navigation panel that helps me stay on course and not crash. Each part is an important point to help me keep perspective and process all of the many challenges and opportunities I face. It’s a God-centeredness orientation that takes the pressure and focus off of me and surrenders it to God. I’m free to live from love and not law, peace and not pressure, grace instead of performance.

Luke Grayson: From Jeremiah

Luke Grayson
Luke Grayson

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Readers, chime in! How would you answer this week’s Viewpoints question?

Tracy Simmons

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Journalism Instructor at Washington State University.

She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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One comment

  1. A very nice collection!

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