If you read yesterday’s Catch, you were introduced to a concept in studying the Bible that should be common to us all as a means by which the word of God becomes real to us. I’m speaking of when you are reading or studying your Bible and you come upon a verse or passage that seems to say something different than what you’ve always heard preached in church or even how certain scriptures are used in regular conversations among Christians.
You’ve probably had the feeling: “Wait a minute. This doesn’t seem to be saying what everyone assumes it’s saying, but who am I to question that? It must be something lost in translation.” And so we ignore those nagging questions and read on. Big mistake. If you stumbled over something there’s probably a reason why.
I’m going to stick my neck out here and venture to suggest this might just be the Holy Spirit speaking to you, at least asking you to dig deeper into the word of God for something more. This is when you ask every question you can think of. Leave no stone unturned. Maybe God has buried some treasure for you here.
Of course we must do due diligence to the passage. Read it in other translations, check out a few commentaries, study the context. We can’t make it say what we want it to say; we want to find out what it’s really saying. But when you are confident you have the text right, and you have a fresh approach, that can be pretty exciting.
Years ago when I was single and struggling with dating relationships, I discovered Paul had a lot to say about being single in 1 Corinthians 7. As I studied the chapter carefully, I discovered there were very practical truths about singleness that no one was talking about or practicing. As I kept studying, I couldn’t help but keep thinking, “How come no one ever told me this before?”
I started to share my findings with others, until one Sunday night in 1973, I gave a talk on “A Single Person’s Identity” at Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto, California and there was such a demand for that message that print versions immediately started going out through the church’s print ministry. Later it was turned into a pamphlet and the last I heard, over half a million copies of “A Single Person’s Identity” have gone out all over the world. How do you explain that? It was simply a truth from the word of God that no one had applied before, so that everywhere it went, it was new.
Here’s something that had been in our Bibles all along. All it took was someone to find it, pull it out, wrap their life around it, and share it with others. You can do this with your own experience of the word of God. In fact, I bet many of you have stories you can tell of something God helped you discover in His word and how it became your own, and something you can share with others. Write us and tell us your stories.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)