Friday, August 22, 2014
The Best Commentary on Scripture...
I reacquainted myself with a tried and true method of Bible study this week. I usually like to just read in a variety of different books of the Bible every day, and eventually make my way through the whole Bible as often as I can. It is my habit every morning: read the Bible as I sip my morning coffee. Lately I added daily journaling to this habit, and writing down whatever Bible verses spoke to me each day.
One of the books I have been reading in is the Gospel of John. When I got to Chapter 7, it dawned on me that this gospel is so rich, so loaded, I wanted to slow down and look into some of the verses deeper. I have an excellent resource to do just that called Nelson's Cross Reference Guide to the Bible edited by Jerome Smith. I love everything about this resource: even down to the fine paper it is printed on. Keyed to the King James Version of the Bible, it breaks the Bible down into cross references for the whole Bible, book by book, line by line. Sometimes there are multiple references given even for just one word or phrase in one verse of Scripture.
I have explained this before, but a big stumbling block for me in my days of questioning God as a young woman dealt with the issue of fairness. How could God ever be fair when some people went to hell, I reasoned. This really tripped me up. It was not until I started to read the gospel of John that I started to find answers to this and many other questions. One day I came across this statement in John 7:17: "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine..."
Suddenly I had an answer to my question! If a man was willing to know, God would make sure that person got to know! Now, back in reference to the cross reference guide, I decided to look up some of the cross references for that verse, and it was so edifying! Scripture commented on, and reinforced Scripture. As a friend of mine says, "The Scriptures are so consistent."
"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine..." For the two little words "shall know" in John 7:17, here were some of the corresponding verses:
John 3:21 "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
Psalm 25:9 "The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way."
Proverbs 3:32 "For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous." (Froward means "those who turn aside"- Companion Bible, E.W. Bullinger, p.869)
Daniel 12:10 "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand."
Hosea 6:3 "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth."
I wrote down all these verses in my journal, and when I got to the Hosea 6 passage, I was intrigued to discover more about what Scripture said about "following on to know the Lord."
Here were some of the verses that speak of "following on" to know Him:
Proverbs 23:12 "Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge."
Daniel 11:33 "And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days."
Matthew 24:13 "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (delivered- Bullinger, Companion Bible, p. 1365.)
Luke 8:15 "But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." (keep it-"hold it fast"-Companion Bible, Bullinger, p.1455)
John 8:31 "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed"
John 15:9-10 "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."
Years ago, when I was confused, I would get a commentary when I found a verse of Scripture that I did not understand. Today I find this a much better way to "get the sense" of the Word as in when Ezra the priest gave the Jewish people the Book of the Law.
And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.