The day I really understood the Bible

Image: The day I really understood the Bible

8 years ago, I read the Bible properly for the first time.

The Bible is not a phone book

A guest speaker at our youth group, Garry, once said “The Bible is not a phone book!” I think he meant that we can sometimes just look up the sections about a topic we are interested in without thinking about how they fit into the rest of the Bible story, or why the writer wrote those words in the first place.

Imagine for example, if a guy likes a girl and wants to work out if he loves her- he looks up 1 Corinthians 13 and ticks off:

  • Love is patient. Well maybe...
  • Love is kind. Yeah I think I’m doing ok...
  • Love does not envy. Hang on you mean I’m not supposed to be jealous of that other guy!

And so on...

Thing is though, Paul didn’t write these verses for love struck teens, he was writing them for a bunch of Christians, some who had a God-given gift and were looking down on their other brothers and sisters and feeling superior, while the others who didn’t have this gift were crazy jealous (check out chapters 12 and 14). Paul is saying, it doesn’t matter what your gifts are (in fact they are useless without love from vs. 1-3), what matters is that Christians love each other!

The day I really understood the Bible

8 years ago, I was sitting on the back deck at Mum and Dad’s place reading 1 Thessalonians and getting ready to write some Bible studies for the young adults group I was involved in leading. I don’t know if I’d ever felt so moved by a Bible book before...

As I was reading 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, it really hit me! I realised for the first time that Paul didn’t write these verses just so that Christians like you & me could know about Jesus’ second coming - no, it was because when he wrote it, the Thessalonians had a real need for him to address this issue.

I needed to understand why the passage was first written, not just 'what it means to me today'.

See, the Thessalonians had a problem, they had somehow misunderstood what the deal was with Christians who die before the return of Christ. Maybe they thought that Jesus was coming back in their lifetime and they were stressing that their mates who had died were going to miss out! But in vs. 16, Paul lays their fears to rest, The 

Sometimes there is value in flipping open one of those Bibles which says “Read this verse when you feel happy, hurt, betrayed, joyful, etc..."

But here’s the thing - when you read the Bible don’t just ask the question ‘what does it say’? Also ask ‘why does it say this here’, and 'what was the writer trying to tell his original readers'?

It may just change your life.

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    Kaye

    Truly A Blessing !

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