Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Doctrinal Gymnastics

Mom and I like to have Bible study together over breakfast once a week, and we use a "devotional book" to give us some guidance, but sometimes we just realize that devos are overrated. This morning we had a good laugh over a sentence that said, "The third phrase in this quote is sandwiched between the first two." ......?? Wouldn't that make it the second phrase, then? And when we went back to Scripture, it was the second phrase. So why not study the phrases in order? Must be some sort of doctrinal gymnastics trick, I suppose. It made it hard to take the rest of the lesson seriously though, and we ended up (as we often do) just going to the passage of Scripture, closing the devo, and letting God speak to us directly.

I think devotional books have a place, when we need some structure or support in knowing how to apply the Word, or just to gain a different perspective. But one of the great things about the Bible is that it is accessible to normal people... you don't have to know an ancient language or have a Doctorate of Theology to be able to read and understand it. It is a gift to us, not to confuse or frustrate, but to enlighten and assure. It is powerful and effective, and doesn't need to be outlined in a three-point message of parallel words in order to challenge or encourage, convict or comfort. It is God's words, from his very heart, that give us wisdom and help, peace and love.

If you don't read the Bible on a regular basis - for whatever reason - I encourage you to pick it up again. Start reading Genesis or Psalms or John or Philippians and just ask God to teach you and speak to you, to show you his truth and how to apply it to your life. He delights to do that! He longs to do that, because when you pray and he communicates with you through his Word, that is the beginning of true relationship with him.

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