Last fall I transcribed a couple hundred recipes to create our mission group’s recipe book. Each recipe had specific ingredients and just as specific directions required to achieve the same end product each time they were used.
Some of the recipes were flexible – offering a choice of ingredients for a flavor change, but still requiring specific directions. Many were flexible enough that simply substituting a flavoring or herb would be palate pleasing. However, it is necessary to know what the words mean. The words that describe the ingredients as well as the words giving the direction. The above graphic of a centuries old recipe has familiar words – salt and bread; some apparent words – suger and nutmege; and some I don’t get at all. Directions are unclear.
The Bible can be similarly difficult until we become acquainted with the words. Know the source on which the translation is based. Learn the meaning of the source words. No, I do not mean we each have to learn Hebrew and Greek to understand our Bible. When a recipe calls simply for “apples”, results will differ if one uses Granny Smith and another Red Delicious. It’s the same with words. We do need to understand how and why source words may differ.
This is why I encourage – perhaps even challenge – my readers to search the scriptures to learn what God has said across the centuries to those who seek Him – and to those who deny Him. Keep in mind that Jesus, Peter, Paul, James and John all referred to the Torah or the Tanakh when relating scriptures, prophecy fulfilled and prophecy to be fulfilled.
The gospel – the good news for mankind – has been written, but has yet to be completed. “It is finished,” that Jesus spoke on the cross – what does that mean? I could tell you what it means to me, but what it means to you is important to you, not to me. What God offers is very personal – it cannot be earned and no amount of good works buy salvation:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)
Yet we are told that faith should result in good works:
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:18-20 KJV)
I can talk about my faith from morning until sunset – but if you can’t see my faith in my every day activities you will never see it as more than words that fall flat. If my faith does not show concern for the unsaved, I’m not living by the words given by Jesus and those who witnessed His ministry. If what I write here does cannot be found in scriptures, you should never pay heed.
So, I really appreciate it when someone checks my blogs against scripture – both Old Testament and New – to see if what I understand from scriptures is true. Is it – or not?