To the Word

Reflections on the call to live by the Word of God

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Location: Mud Creek, Tennessee, United States

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Plumbing the Depths

Our Sunday evening series this fall is on difficult or challenging passages in the Bible. I personally like this series because, if I look at the passages that challenge my own thinking, it gives me plenty to preach about! If you have a passage you would like to study in depth on Sunday evenings, please let me know.

On Wednesday evenings we’ve been exploring some of the depths of Jesus’ teaching in John’s Gospel. Often Jesus’ words seem to suggest more than one meaning, as when he told Nicodemus that he must be born “again”— a word that in the language of the New Testament could mean either again or from above (John 3:3). In John’s Gospel, whenever Jesus’ words could be interpreted in more than one way, those around him invariably interpreted them in the inferior, less spiritual way. At times Jesus spoke in metaphors, as when he said we must eat his flesh and drink his blood to have life (John 6:53). Again, whenever Jesus spoke symbolically like this, more often than not the people around him missed the point.

In looking at Jesus’ words today we have many benefits those in the first century did not: a written New Testament, the wisdom and insight of other believers, and the Spirit of God to lead us into all truth (John 16:13). Nevertheless, if we approach God’s word with faith and humility, we’ll find there is still much about God we don’t yet understand. When we study the Scriptures, we find many answers—and many questions, too! The well of the Word, it seems, never runs dry.

I’m convinced God wants more for us to be in communion with him than to simply know a lot of facts about him. Without a relationship with God, our knowledge of his Word becomes simply “rule upon rule, rule upon rule, line upon line, line upon line” (Isaiah 28:13). Still, any good relationship is built upon knowledge. That’s why we need to commit ourselves to daily, careful study of God’s Word in the Scriptures. When we turn our minds to knowing about God—who loves us, seeks us out, and wants to give us his own kingdom—how can we help but want to be in a close relationship with him?

Copyright 2004, New York Avenue Church of Christ


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