When I teach students the Bible, I like to give them the following breakdown of its sweeping themes:
The Old Testament-The history of God
The Psalms-The heart of God
The proverbs-The wisdom of God
The prophets-The fire of God
The Gospels-The face of God
The Epistles-The will of God
The Revelation-The promise of God
Each is a portal into a facet of God. Each so complex and mysterious that no idea coming from man has ever gotten close to interpreting it’s full breadth and depth. Truly, a journey into it’s bindings itself is the destination.
There’s a double-edged sword waiting for anyone who hungers for more of God. The first edge is an invitation from Jesus.
“Come, all who are weary and heavy…I will give rest.”
The depths of the wisdom, comfort, encouragement, healing, correction and insight cannot be plumbed. A lifetime later, a man who is honest will scratch his head and admit that he simply skimmed the surface of understanding. It has an eternity of perspective waiting…and yes I imagine in heaven the Bible will be read and loved even more than here on earth.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will never pass away”
That’s why it’s so good to fall in love with it, know it and apply now, so that when we resume our read in heaven, it’s a seamless love affair.
The second edge to the sword is our human tendency to become familiar, and even bored with its message. If we apply the word, it will never become dull, yet too much of it unapplied can over stuff the senses, and eventually our interest, and yes even our love can wane. The principal of human relationships can give us insight. A couple married for 30 years or more have few surprises waiting them as they rise in the morning. So what keeps them in love? It’s not a deepening of knowledge per se, but a deepening of understanding. What’s the difference? Knowledge can be applied, but it can also be ignored.
By nature understanding demands that we have tested the knowledge and found it to either to our edification, sanctification or to our comfort. If we do not approach the Bible with a view to understand God, then we will fall on the wrong side of the sword, and become dulled by its pages, rather than invigorated. Just as the man and woman have watched each other’s lives be confronted with any number of tests and trials, and have seen what’s inside their lives become inverted and shown in the beauty of character, so too as we step out and test the promises of God, we will see Him with new eyes, and deeply understand Him, not just know about Him. It’s the crux of relationship, and it why we must fight for understanding, rather than just settle for knowledge of the Holy Writ.
In my next post, I will cover several ways that we can break out of a predictable approach to Bible reading, enter into union with the Author, and fall more in love on our spiritual pilgrimage.