Turning a phrase is a wonderful thing which causes others to admire and remember you. When it comes to God’s Word, I’m afraid phrases and words are twisted and turned in ways that aren’t so wonderful. As I’ve studied the scriptures more intensely over the past three years, I’ve been surprised by all that has been written about the scriptures. I love to read commentaries and think highly of those who spend a lifetime delving into God’s Word with the help of the Holy Spirit, but I much prefer to simply read a scripture and let the Spirit open my heart so I can listen to God.
The Holy Spirit turns scripture and makes the words of Christ come alive in a way that never ceases to amaze me. I’ve read many books, poems, stories, articles, and songs in my life. I even read the Bible through many times before I began looking at it as a living, breathing entity. I fell in love with it, and can’t imagine life without it.
Loving God’s Word changes our selfish desire to hold on to it or the pompous need to be wise or right. A sweet intimacy occurs with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Eugene Peterson calls it the Trinitarian Dance. That is just what it feels like when He sweeps me off my feet, lifts me up, and spins me around His Word.
I feel sorry for those who focus upon a translation or pick out and peck at passages until they become what they want them to be. I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to allowing passages to bury me in despair or become a badge of courage to which I cling. I’ve been lost many times as I’ve searched His Word to find my answer rather than His. The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight is a wonderful book that helped me see the terrible effects of picking passages and using them to promote an agenda. Twisting God’s Word breaks His heart and destroys His work.
Picking apart the Bible makes as much sense as tearing apart a person. Unfortunately, both occur too frequently. The Bible is a beautiful love letter that serves as a source of great joy, inspiration, guidance, and love. When I let the Spirit help me hear His heart, I am filled to the brim. When I use it to prove I’m right, I end up empty-hearted and miserable.
I envy those who can read Greek and Hebrew and would love nothing more than to sit with Christ and listen to Him read God’s Word. I often wonder what it must have been like that day in the temple when He read from the scroll:
And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:17-21
I wonder if I would have been one who scoffed and said, “That’s just Joseph’s son.” Anytime I worry or doubt God, I am guilty of forgetting that He is God. Then, I’m no different than those in the temple who refused to believe He is Who He says He is. His Word is a wonderful reminder of Who He is and always will be. He fulfilled the Scripture that day in the temple, and He fulfills it in my heart each time I read it with the Holy Spirit. Like a child’s favorite book, I love to hear it over and over again:)
This message on Mark 6:1-13 blessed me, and I believe it will bless you.