Thursday, June 16, 2011

Biblical truth in layers: digging deeper

You're six (with pigtails or dimples--take your pick), and you listen to a storybook version of the Genesis Creation story, and the birth of Jesus, and the miracle of a man born blind receiving sight, and you get it.

You get it as in, "God's big, he made the world, he was born in a smelly place, and he can do anything!" That's as much as you get, and that's enough, for now. But then you grow up, and you begin to put away childish things and ideas, and the Bible begins to be an awfully big book filled with mystery and prompting lots of questions.

In the process of digging deeper, some of us seem to lose our faith. Others of us find a deep well from which to draw from, and grow more comfortable with paradoxes and mysteries. We understand that we may understand a certain passage to mean one thing, but once we drill down to investigate the Greek or Hebrew, or we put it into context with the rest of Scripture, our views change somewhat.

God never changes (and neither does his Word),  but sometimes our views or understanding on God change

We're human, after all. And as humans, we are in a discovery process to mine the truth about God, who is Other than us. Greater than us. More loving than us. Perfect and sovereign.

This whole process is happening to me right now as I study the Hebrew word ezer, the word God used when creating Eve in Genesis 2. It also happens to be a strong word used 16x in the Old Testament for God! Describing how he is a strong helper to his people, how he comes through for them when they are in desperate need. And there's a boat-load of significance in God's word choice here...he could have used a Hebrew word for servant or one of the words for wife, but he chose EZER. And so in sharing through the written word what God intends for his daughters by the use of the word ezer, I have likely spent at least 100 hours studying and consulting experts, since I myself have not studied Hebrew. I'm not kidding you. Deep waters.

What I am discovering, in an supreme effort to stay true to Scripture, and to be faithful to the usage of the word in this particular context, is different than what I thought I was going to write about when I signed up for the project. It's even a shade of meaning that's different from what I shared in a sermon about this subject last month.

And that, ultimately, is OK. We are all learning as we go, digging deeper, searching for the ultimate meaning of what God is saying Scripture, and as NT Wright recently said in the May/June issue of Bible study Magazine, anyone's translation is "a 65% best guess." The point is, we are doing the best we can.  We are uncovering "Big T truth in layers," and I believe even the search pleases our heavenly Father.

How about you? What have you learned about God's Truth as an adult that surprised or confused you? What makes you want to dig deeper into Scripture?


  1. Girl, I can't wait to read! Praying for you as you press on. Love, Natasha

  2. New truths: 1. Suffering is a blessing, not a sign that God has grown distant or is punishing his children. 2.Spiritual growth is greatest when the valley is the deepest. 3. Wilderness wanderings aren't just for biblical characters, they are necessary for 21 century pilgrims, too.
    4. God's holiness is beyond comprehension.
    Dig deeper: 1. Another's views that challenge my assumptions. 2. Read scripture and a new concept, perspective or angle hits me. Then wonder if my thinking is on track or off base. 3. My expectations are not being met. Why not? Do my expectations need to be adjusted?
    Can't wait to hear the ezer line of thinking!

  3. Thanks, ladies--and thanks, Kim, for sharing those "new truths." I hope my heart is always open to what God is working to communicate through Scripture--even if it flies in the face of previous "assumptions."

    Covet your prayers on the ezer project. Amazed at the sense of relationships and community God built into the Genesis Creation account.