Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. … See how I have loved your guiding principles! … O Lord, in keeping with your mercy, give me a new life. There is nothing but truth in your word, and all of your righteous regulations endure forever. [Psalm 119:105,159-160 (GW)]
I often find myself lost in the Bible, fascinated by this amazing book of history, poetry, passion, and wisdom. Comparing translations and reading commentaries helps me understand the context and meaning of verses. Knowing something about the specific church to whom Paul was writing, for example, allows me to better understand his directions, many of which seem peculiar in today’s world where churches don’t argue about circumcision and food isn’t offered to idols. For example, Paul wasn’t playing fashion police when giving instructions about hair length and head coverings to the church in Corinth. Although Greek women worshipped without head coverings, Jewish women had always covered their heads in worship—an uncovered head for them was a sign of loose morals. Moreover, in Corinth (the city with Aphrodite’s temple and its 1000 prostitutes) both long hair on men and short hair on women were signs of prostitution. Paul was trying to unify both Jewish and Gentile believers and prevent anyone’s appearance from interfering with their ability to be a witness for Christ. Bible study also makes old familiar verses take on deeper meaning. David’s sorrowful words of repentance in Psalm 51 are even more poignant when we know they refer to his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. Bible study, however, is far more than an intellectual exercise; it enables us to know God as He revealed himself in Scripture and then to weave His word into our daily lives.
As a girl, I used to weave potholders and I’ve taught both my children and grands to do the same. We attached fabric loops across a small metal loom and interlaced other loops at right angles. Over and under the loops we’d go until the loom was filled. When finished, instead of a bunch of unconnected loops, we had a thick potholder that could withstand heat. While that’s the only thing I’ve woven, I try to weave God’s word into the fabric of my life daily. Unlike the Corinthians, I don’t live in sin city but, like them, I’ve been challenged to live up to God’s standard of morality and to behave in a way that is considerate to the sensitivities of others. I’ve neither committed adultery nor murdered anyone’s husband but, like David, I have allowed my sins to drive a wedge between God and me. Yet, as I weave God’s word into my life, I can handle all of life’s circumstances, even when I get into hot water.
“The touch, the feel, of cotton…the fabric of our lives,” the television ads for cotton tell us. Sorry, Madison Avenue, but neither cotton, linen, wool, polyester, nor silk are the fabric of my life. That honor belongs to God’s word.
A Pew Research poll in 2010 found that evangelicals ranked only a smidgen higher than atheists in familiarity with the New Testament and Jesus’s teachings. [Newsweek Magazine (1/2015)]