Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A New and Exciting Book!

Last Sunday I made the statement that the Bible as the newest book of all. Sure, if you date it from the time it was written, it is one of the oldest books of all, but the unique message of the Bible makes it new every time you read it. It doesn't matter how much of a scholar you are, how many degrees in Bible and biblical languages you have, or how many passages of Scripture you can quote - it's new every time we read it because we are not the same person we were the last time we read it. That is why we constantly find ourselves "discovering" a new truth from a verse we have read - literally - thousands of times. There is no other book in existence that becomes deeper and more precious as our hearts draw closer to the author!

I also made the statement that there is nothing more interesting, exciting, and enlightening to me now than the Bible. Of course, I had to point out that I haven't always felt that way. Why? Because of the two principles that determine when a new subject becomes exciting. First, the principle of being Age Appropriate. We must be mature enough to understand it and see all or most of the possibilities it holds for us. Secondly, the principle of Prerequisites - those things we must know before hand that lay the foundation for understanding the new subject.

There have been many time in the past when I was not "age appropriate" to understand the power and thrill of what God was sharing with me. Remember, I'm not referring to a matter of years, but of spiritual maturity. When we are ready and wanting to see the things God has for us in his word, things start hitting us like proverbial "ton of bricks" on a regular basis. And the prerequisites are not Introduction to the New Testament 101 or Church work 201, but love, grace, and a seeking after the mind of Christ. That is why, before I shared my four rules for understanding the Word of God, I offered the suggestion "Communicate don't study." Think of it as talking to God. Hear him talking to you, and as you seek him, talk to him. Communication is an essential part of relationship building, so think about listening to God not just studying him.

For those who wonder what the four rule were:
1. Read it objectively: try to ignore all preconceived conclusions others taught you.
2. Read it consistently: see God's consistence message and let the Bible explain the Bible. Always understand and address the context.
3. Read it historically: consider the culture and the occasion.
4. Read it lovingly: look at it through the eyes of God and Jesus.

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