Discovering God’s Word
When you read the Bible and come across a verse that speaks to you, do you interpret that verse the way God meant it, or do you take it and apply your own meaning? Don’t shrug it off and deny that you’ve done this, most if not all Bible readin’ Christians have done this, myself included.
It’s been said that we discover God’s Word, we don’t determine it. What that means is when we read we aren’t supposed to read verses that talk about love, gentleness and kindness and then demand that everyone is kind, gentle and loving toward us, while we ignore the command in our own life. We don’t read about how we can do all things in Him who strengthens us, and ignore who the writer was writing to. Those verses might be directed at all people, some people, or even just one person – it depends on what the writer of those verses meant, not what we want it to mean.
Let’s take for example the Old Testament law that forbade the consumption of pork (Leviticus 11), was Moses – through God’s divine inspiration – telling all people at all times that pork is a no-no? Or was he instructing a certain group of people that God is forbidding it because He wants them to remain separate and holy? Now, obviously most of us eat pork so we know that that law is not directed at us.
What about the oh so controversial topic of tattoos in Leviticus 19 (“Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord. Verse 28)? Most Christians nowadays take that and say that no tattoos are allowed. Period. But I have to ask, was that meant for all people, all the time? Most scholars will tell you that Leviticus was written to the Levites because the title means ‘as pertaining to the Levites’. Meaning it is not about Christians today, even though some of what it said is still applicable to us, it wasn’t about us.
I am NOT saying you can run out and get a tattoo, the laws and restrictions in Leviticus had a purpose – to keep God’s people separate and Holy and I think, to point others towards a God that is Holy. Even the New Testament and Jesus talked about this separate-ness that is supposed to point others to a God that is different than any other (John 13:35 ).
You might be asking “what’s the point?” The point is, reading the Bible and knowing that it’s God’s Word! Not just a book we can apply to our daily life (it is) but so much more than that as well. It is God’s story of love to His children! It’s a history book that tells us when we were made and what we did, and how we strayed and how God pursued us. It gives us a glimpse into His heart which reveals that He is a musical God, a poetic God, a just God, a loving God, a God that has not just grace or truth, but has them together in a perfectly balanced way! Our God is an Awesome God!
Never is the Bible ABOUT us, Always is the Bible FOR us. Not to use and dissect and manipulate but to read, learn and grow. To discover God in every word, to see that Jesus was the plan from the get-go. The Bible is a love letter from a loving Father to His children. Read it, study it, learn it, know it.