One of the most beautiful aspects about reading God’s Word is discovering the divinely-placed themes woven throughout. Themes are powerful ways in which we learn about our Savior and become more like him. As we faithfully open the pages of our Bibles, and as the Lord graciously opens our eyes to its truths, recurrent topics stop seeming obscure and disjointed. Gradually, they come together to reveal a clearer picture of who Christ is.
We can, of course, hunt for any given Biblical topic easily, through a word search. But in order for these themes to truly raise off the pages and come to life in our hearts, we have to diligently work at peeling back the layers of truth. We can do this by studying the Bible:
1) Over time
2) As a whole
Over the past year, God has come alive to me in new ways as I’ve beheld his unchangeable character laced through sixty-six books, thousands of years, countless cultures, dozens of authors, and multiple genres of literature.
I have witnessed themes of…
God’s faithfulness in our faithlessness. God was faithful to Israel, even when they continually worshipped other gods. He even commanded his prophet, Hosea, to marry an adulterous prostitute, that he might demonstrate his own heart toward his wandering people. Jesus compassionately prayed for Peter before his denial, and then specifically consoled him afterwards. Truly, I see that “if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Tim 2:13)
God’s zeal for his temple. In the Old Testament, rigorous commands and specific instructions dictated every aspect of the temple’s construction and operation. Then Jesus demonstrated his passion for God’s house when he overturned the tables of the greedy money-changers. So when I read that my body is now the “temple of the Holy Spirit”, I take this privilege seriously. I understand that I am called to “glorify God in my body” (1 Cor 6:19-20), for I know that God “yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us” (James 4:5).
The power of his Word. It’s one thing to cut out cardboard armor in Sunday school and read that “the sword of the Spirit” is the word of God. But then we see the Word speaking creation into existence (Gen 1). We see the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). We see Jesus battle temptation using Scripture (Matthew 4). And we see the image of Jesus in Revelation, where “from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword”- a sight which caused John to fall at his feet “as though dead” (Rev 1:16-17).
These are just a few of the themes impressed on my heart, recently, as I continue to grow in awe of the Word that proves true (2 Sam 22:31). I know I can’t necessarily convey the gravity of these truths in the way they have impacted me… I know this because I’ve spent hours trying to write this blog, trying to show how amazing these themes are. And after much (much, MUCH…) backspacing, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot express what they mean to me. The very reason they are so real to my life is because I’ve come to them through (I repeat) reading the Word 1) over time, 2) as a whole, and 3) with the intention of knowing Christ.
At the end of the day, there is no SparkNotes version (as my husband likes to call it) of digging in the Word. Knowing God comes through committing to the journey through Scripture. It comes through witnessing his testimony in all seasons of your life. And it comes through the familiarity of his character, as we discover the themes throughout the Bible. But the point is… that it comes.