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The Second Time Around…

By August 28, 2022August 30th, 2022Devotional

Lately, my ideas for posts have come from all over the place, but one of the main things that I have noticed is that they seem to have a common theme – reflection on the past and looking toward the future.

Toward that end, I have been asked to once again teach a lady’s Bible study this fall on Thursday mornings. The study will be on the book of Romans and it will be my job to mirror the devotional that is being used by the group and teach a little of the theology that Paul imparted to the Romans and the other churches that he was involved in. It is my fourth year, I think, and teaching really keeps me in the Word. Studying really does help keep me stay disciplined so that I can be more effective each week when I address the group.

Another group I have been involved in dates back to the very late 1990’s. Even before I attended seminary, I was a member of a Bible study that met for lunch each Tuesday at a local restaurant. It was there that I was exposed to the idea of exegetical teaching – that is a verse by verse unpacking of the Scripture. Eventually, the leader of the group felt that he was being called by the Holy Spirit to step down and through a series of divinely orchestrated events, I ended up taking over the study six months later.

It was my first foray into teaching and it was a daunting experience. Thankfully, it ended up going pretty well – I started out teaching Genesis – the first book of the Bible and to this day my favorite book. I led that lunchtime study for quite a while. We eventually moved to a different restaurant and when I finally gave up my company, the remnant of that original group started to meet in our home. We are still together, after more than 22 years studying the Word of God as a group.

In fact, we have studied more than half of the Old Testament and every word of the New Testament, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, throughout our time together. We are taking the psalms in stages as it is such a long book but last year we finally finished everything past the book of Malachi – what we know as the New Testament. After starting this year in the psalms once again (we studied the 3rd section of the psalms) we decided to start our second pass through the New Testament by once again digging into Revelation, the last book of the Bible.

We aren’t on any kind of timetable so we are taking it kind of slow and really digging in. Frankly, it seems kind of strange to teach Revelation again. However, it has been about fifteen years since our first look at that book and I can’t believe how much we have grown as a group since then. We are discussing deeper issues, the answers to questions require more intense thought and it is clear that we have all matured in our faith.

It has been an unbelievable blessing to study together for so many years. Admittedly, it may be difficult for someone new to come into the group at this stage. It’s not that they wouldn’t be welcome, it’s just that we all know each other so well and have grown together so much that our study is much deeper than it used to be. I knew that intellectually but it really became apparent as we started Revelation a second time years after our first exploration of John’s vision recorded in this fascinating book. I am proud of how our collective faith has grown during our time together. To think that I have been teaching the Bible for about a third of my life defies belief!

An important point to remember here is that the interpretation of Scripture doesn’t change but the application of the Word in our lives changes as the Holy Spirit illuminates each of us and our understanding of God’s word. That point has never been more clear than in our current study. God really is awesome!

Our verse for tonight is from the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. He is explaining to the church that it is the Holy Spirit who helps us understand the things of God. Paul tells us, in 1 Corinthians 2:14-16, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

Paul clearly lets us know that it is the Spirit that helps us with our understanding. My encouragement this evening is that the closer we are to God, the more we will understand His wishes for our lives and His Bible. My prayer is that each of us will be involved in some sort of Bible study where we, as a community of believers, will engage with others to help all of us have a deeper knowledge of the Creator of everything. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…