Several months ago, I was reading a Christian denomination’s magazine. There was an article explaining why the denomination had chosen to restrict itself to one Bible translation. One of their concerns was that varying translations would be confusing for children memorizing Scripture. Apparently, they thought a child would not be able to make the connection between the wording they had memorized and the wording of a varying translation.
Unfortunately, Christians tend to get too caught up in words. One example is much of our approach to religious education. Bible memory assignments are graded by how exact one copies a verse. Points are deducted for each wrong word. If a child wrote down the message of the verse but did not memorize the words, he would receive a poor mark; whereas a child who knows nothing of the teaching of the verse yet can recite it word for word would receive a good grade and be praised.
Is something wrong with this? We say memorization is “hiding God’s Word in our hearts.” But is it? Isn’t there something more than memorization, something more than words?
It is easy to miss the message in Scripture. Words like justification, sanctification, and redemption have become so trite we spout them off without thinking about what they actually mean. We fail to consider the truth a verse contains and neglect to recognize how it blends with the rest of God’s Word. We may know all the words—but we need more.
When digging into God’s Word, we must delve deep—deeper than words. We need to ask God to grant us spiritual eyes when reading the Scriptures, so that we can look deeper. The words in the Bible are good, but they are just words until we look deeper into them, through them. We must look at the ideas behind Scriptures. We need to ask, “What is this truth here? How would this change me?” It’s easy to ask these questions as rhetoric, but it’s another thing altogether to ask them in earnest inquiry.
There are a lot of words in the Bible. But let’s be careful not to lose the Word among all those words.
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