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Two markers to remember

It seems to me there are a couple of boundary markers we need to keep in our line of sight as we make our way through the Scripture (and it makes its way through us). 


The first is that we need to have confidence that we can come within understanding distance of the Scripture.  Whether it’s John 5 or Jeremiah 25, we need to approach Scripture with the assurance that God didn’t give us the book to mock us.  It’s something we can understand if we approach it correctly.  That means we can’t just open up the Bible and immediately start in with a “this is what it means to me” approach and expect to be blessed with understanding.  Such a method is egocentric to the core.  It assumes the Scripture was written primarily for us instead of recognizing that Jeremiah and John were written to specific audiences and before we can understand what it means to us (how to apply it); we must understand what it meant to the original recipients.  Yet if we do our work in this area (and there are plenty of wonderful aids that can help us here), there is no reason that we cannot come within understanding distance of the Scripture.  We may not grasp every nuance or verse, but we’ll understand the basic message.


The complementary and second truth to remember is we should never be satisfied to stay where we are in regard to our understanding of Scripture.  Understanding distance is where we want to start, not end.  The Scripture is profound and a lifetime of study will not begin to exhaust its richness. 


You can read the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 and understand that Luke records this for Theophilus (1:1-4), to help him understand the heart of God that was also present in Jesus.  At another level you could see that the story is also about a second son who is lost and very much resembles the Pharisees and lawyers whom Jesus told the story to (15:1).  Go down another level you might write a book called, Will God Run?, as Charles Hodge did when he noticed that “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son ,” (15:20).  Since the Bible is the book of life, our understanding of it should continually grow and deepen as it does with life itself.


We’ll do well to stay within these boundaries.  Never be discouraged or beaten down into believing the Bible is just a book for the “experts.”  Neither should you treat it like the latest bestseller and think that because you know how the story turns out, there’s no reason to dig any deeper.  Stay within these boundaries and allow God to bless you (Psalm 1)!     


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