Scribes for the Kingdom

There is a curious little parable at the end of the ‘parables of the kingdom’ in Matthew 13. Unlike the rest of the parables in this chapter, this one focuses not on the Kingdom but its servants. Jesus has asked his disciples if they understood everything he had just taught. Having received an affirmative answer, he then said to them: “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Matt. 13:52).

According to the New Bible Dictionary, the scribes in Jesus’ day were the “copyists, preservers and interpreters of the law” (p.1068). To be a scribe meant to be proficient with the Old Testament scriptures. This parable suggests that any scribe who belongs to the Kingdom and is a follower of Jesus needs to be skilful with both the Old and New Testaments, competent to display their treasures and show the beauties of the gospel hidden within them.

I would like to propose that such ‘scribes of the Kingdom’ today do not need to be limited to the professional scholars and Bible teachers. The Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) is for all Christians. I think these words likewise challenge all Christians. They call on us to be ‘trained for the kingdom’. We are called to serve the Lord with everything he has endowed us with, including all our mind (Matt. 22:37). In being a scribe of the Kingdom, the key thing to strive for is familiarity with the scriptures and the ability to display their treasures so that we can show people Jesus. With that goal in mind, consider how you yourself might start (or continue) such training in the scriptures. Copy passages by hand, commit verses to memory, consider their parts in light of the whole. Read them aloud. Read them in a second language if you can. Become familiar with them, so you can be a scribe for the kingdom who has gospel treasures to display to the world.

Blessings,  Chris Northcott.