I offer a very personal selection of texts from the Wisdom of Solomon and the New Testament Epistles. I will add texts from the Gospels later.
These are texts that have provided the Biblical foundations for my faith in God as immersed in the evolutionary out-workings of Creation and who I experience in the depths of my contemplative self as love - infinite, intimate, unconditional love.
They speak to me of the God I have come to know through faith and practice, the God of Jesus and Paul., of prophets and mystics in every century.
It is a very selective list of texts for a good reason. It’s because I have had enough of proof texts being quoted to me because I am gay, texts quoted out of context and often mistranslated.
These are not proof texts. For me, these are texts which reveal the way in which God is woven through my experience of life and creation in ways that are life-giving, energy-raising and truth-telling. They have inspired me to campaign for justice within the context of deep faith.
God, who sees clearly into [a person’s] ear and hears every word [they] speak, is a witness of [their] inmost being. For the Spirit of the Lord fills the whole earth, and that which holds everything together knows well everything that is said.
Wisdom of Solomon 1.6b,7
For God did not make death, and takes no pleasure in the destruction of any living thing; he created all things that they might have being. The creative forces of the world make for life; there is no deadly poison in them. Death has no sovereignty on earth, for justice is immortal . .
Wisdom of Solomon 1.13-15a
[The just man] is a living condemnation of our way of thinking. The very sight of him is an affliction to us, because his life is not like other people’s, and the paths he follows are quite different. He rejects us like base coin, and avoids us and our ways as if we were filth; he says that the just die happy, and boasts that God is his father. Let us test the truth of his claim, let us see what will happen to him in the end; for if the just [person] is God’s son, God will stretch out a hand to him and save him from the clutches of his enemies. Insult and torture are the means to put him to the test, to measure his forbearance and learn how long his patience lasts. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, if what he says is true, he will have a protector.
So they argued, and how wrong they were! Blinded by their own malevolence, they failed to understand God’s hidden plan; they never expected that holiness of life would have its recompense, never thought that innocence would have its reward. But God created [human beings] imperishable, and made [them] the image of his own eternal self.
Wisdom of Solomon 2.14-23
For I am convinced that there is nothing in death or life, in the realm of spirits or superhuman powers, in the world as it is or the world as it shall be, in the forces of the universe, in heights or depths – nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Scripture speaks of ‘things beyond our seeing, things beyond our hearing, things beyond our imagining, all prepared by God for those who love him’; and these are what God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit explores everything, even the depths of God’s own nature. Who knows what a human being is but the human spirit within them? In the same way, only the Spirit of God knows what God is.
1 Corinthians 2.9-11
Yet we possess the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2.16b
Surely you know that you are God’s temple, where the Spirit of God dwells.
1 Corinthians 3.16
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the Spirit is God’s gift to you?
1 Corinthians 6.19
Christ is like a single body with its many limbs and organs, which, many as they are, together make up one body; for in the one Spirit we were all brought into one body by baptism, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free; we were all given that one Spirit to drink.
1 Corinthians 12.12-13
The power we have comes from God; it is he who has empowered us as ministers of a new covenant, not written but spiritual; for the written law condemns to death but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3.5b-6
[W]here the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. And because for us there is no veil over the face, we all see as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, and we are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, through the power of the Lord who is Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3.17b-18
For the God who said, ‘Out of darkness light shall shine,’ has caused his light to shine in our hearts, the light which is knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4.6
For anyone united to Christ there is a new creation: the old order has gone; a new order has already begun.
2 Corinthians 5.17
All this has been the work of God. He has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has enlisted us in this ministry of reconciliation: God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, no longer holding people’s misdeeds against them, and has entrusted us with the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5.18-19
And the temple of the living God is what we are.
2 Corinthians 6.16b
It is a question of equality . . . The aim is equality; as scripture has it, ‘Those who gathered more did not have too much, and those who gathered less did not have too little.
2 Corinthians 8.14a,15
There is no such thing as Jew and Greek, slave and freeman, male and female; for you are all one person in Christ Jesus.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has conferred on us in Christ every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. Before the foundation of the world he chose us in Christ to be his people, to be without blemish in his sight, to be full of love; and he predestined us to be adopted as his children through Jesus Christ. This was his will and pleasure in order that the glory of his gracious gift, so graciously conferred on us in his Beloved, might redound to his praise.
God has lavished on us all wisdom and insight. He has made known to us his secret purpose, in accordance with the plan which he determined beforehand in Christ, to be put into effect when the time was ripe: namely, that the universe, everything in heaven and on earth, might be brought into a unity in Christ.
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the all-glorious Father, may confer on you the spiritual gifts of wisdom and vision, with the knowledge of him that they bring. I pray that your inward eyes may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope to which he calls you, how rich and glorious is the share he offers you among his people in their inheritance, and how vast are the resources of his power open to us who have faith.
. . . the church which is his body, the fullness of him who is filling the universe in all its parts.
But God is rich in mercy, and because of his great love for us, he brought us to life with Christ when we were dead because of our sins; it is by grace you are saved. And he raised us up in union with Christ Jesus and enthroned us with him in the heavenly realms, so that he might display in the ages to come how immense are the resources of his grace, and how great his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you are saved through faith; it is not your own doing. It is God’s gift, not a reward for work done. There is nothing for anyone to boast of; we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the life of good deeds which God designed for us.
Once you were far off, but now in union with Christ Jesus you have been brought near through the shedding of Christ’s blood. For he himself is our peace. Gentiles and Jews, he has made the two one, and in his own body of flesh and blood has broken down the barrier of enmity which separated them; for he annulled the law with its rules and regulations, so as to create out of the two a single new humanity in himself, thereby making peace. This was his purpose, to reconcile the two in a single body to God through the cross, by which he killed the enmity. So he proclaimed the good news: peace to you who were far off, and peace to those who were near; for through him we both alike have access to the Father in the one Spirit.
Thus you are no longer aliens in a foreign land, but fellow citizens with God’s people, members of God’s household. You are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the corner-stone. In him the whole building is bonded together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you are also being built with all the others into a spiritual dwelling for God.
. . . the good news of the unfathomable riches of Christ, and of bringing to light how this hidden purpose was to be put into effect.
This accords with his age-long purpose, which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have freedom of access to God, with the confidence born of trust in him.
With this in mind, then, I kneel in prayer to the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth takes its name, that out of the treasures of his glory he may grant you inward strength and power through his Spirit, that through faith Christ may dwell in your hearts in love. With deep roots and firm foundations may you, in company with all God’s people, be strong to grasp what is the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and to know it, though it is beyond knowledge. So may you be filled with the very fullness of God.
. . . so that he might fill the universe.
. . . for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity inherent in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God – to mature manhood, measured by nothing less than the full stature of Christ.
We ask God that you may receive from him full insight into his will, all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
He is the image of the invisible God; his is the primacy over all creation. In him everything in heaven and on earth was created . . . the whole universe has been created through him and for him. He exists before all things, and all things are held together in him. He is the head of the body, the church. He is its origin, the first to return from the dead, to become in all things supreme. For in him God in all his fullness chose to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things to himself, making peace though the shedding of his blood on the cross – all things, whether in heaven or on earth.
But now by Christ’s death in his body of flesh and blood God has reconciled you to himself, so that he may bring you into his own presence, holy and without blame or blemish. Yet you must persevere in faith, firm on your foundations and never to be dislodged from the hope offered in the gospel you accepted. This is the gospel which has been proclaimed in the whole creation under heaven . . .
. . . to put God’s word into full effect, that secret purpose hidden for long ages and through many generations, but now disclosed to God’s people. To them he chose to make known what a wealth of glory is offered to the Gentiles in this secret purpose: Christ in you, the hope of glory.
To this end I am toiling with all the power and energy of Christ at work in me.
Therefore, since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him. Be rooted in him, be built in him, grown strong in the faith as you were taught; let your hearts overflow with thankfulness.
For it is in Christ that the Godhead in all its fullness dwells embodied.
. . . you have discarded the old human nature and the life that goes with it, and have put on the new nature which is constantly being renewed in the image of its Creator and brought to know God. There is no question here of Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman; but Christ is all and is in all.
Let the Gospel of Christ dwell among you in all its richness; teach and instruct one another with all the wisdom it gives you.
God has not destined us for retribution, but for the full attainment of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5.9