He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27
As I’ve lived with the Bible for decades, one fundamental truth has made itself clear: How we interpret the Bible reflects who we are at the time we’re interpreting it.
For example, as a teenage Christian I was focused more on the right/wrong, good/bad, black/white teachings and stories. That helped shaped my identity. Jesus is coming soon, and I want to be on the raptured list.
As years passed, I found myself less drawn to the Armageddon verses. I’d learned more in college and in the college of life. I’d fallen in love, married, and had a family. Jesus’ sacrificial love and compassion for all, transcending human distinctions, pointed the way forward. His parables came alive.
Now, in my later years, I’ve become amazed at how such a big book really is quite small. It’s a narrative of humanity’s walk with God and God’s covenant with humanity. When you dig down through the many historical, cultural, and theological layers, you get down to just one verse: Love God and love others. Period.
My teenage self would use my AARP self as an example of someone who’s gone over to the other side, deceived by the Prince of Darkness. Nothing will change that teenager’s mind other than years of discovering for himself how large the world really is, and how larger still is God’s heart.
Some wisdom comes with age. It’s easier to glimpse God’s vision for a united, not divided, humanity. Jesus taught it and lived it. Simply focus on loving God and others as he did. Everything else is commentary.
4 thoughts on “MONDAY MEDITATION: If the Bible Was Only One Verse (October 25)”
“How we interpret the Bible reflects who we are at the time we’re interpreting it.”
Isn’t it a blessing that the God of the universe has given us His word, and that it has stood the test of time, through many generations and interpretations, both true and false. The greatest blessing is His Holy Spirit, which indwells us the moment we surrender to Jesus, to counsel and guide us so we don’t have to trust our own interpretations, no matter our stage in life. Sin is still the enemy of intimacy with God, and the blood of Jesus is the only thing that conquers it. Praise be to God for His plan of salvation!
Thanks as always, Greg. I have thought a lot about the word “love” in this context and still wonder what constitutes LOVE. I can think of many what I think as examples of love, and I think I know some of what it is, but still struggle about it. Is it an attitude, a feeling, an emotion? I believe God is love, and we are taught He loves us, His creation. I have searched a Bible Dictionary and from its several pages about it has helped. For now I’m trying to practice LOVE by keeping in mind the fruits of the Spirit and doing good things as best as I know how.
We look at the love God wants us to have for His children, and at the same time loving them enough to help them save themselves from sin. How is that done? Through our support of a dedicated life to God and the knowledge that comes from that relationship with Him.
Interpretation of the meaning of the scripture can be complex and simple. We continue to learn new insights throughout a life of study and prayer. The hardest thing I think is to find what sin there is in our lives and face it. We cannot use love to justify and accept our sin. This is the complex side. How do you reconcile the sinfulness in our lives and others with the love we have for them? Do we accept the sin as a part of who we are or who they are or reinterpret the scripture to reconcile a life with sin intact?
Spurgeon believed the church could only be a source of authority in making known the knowledge of God; human intelligence, however brilliant its theorizing might be, can never be an authority.
I do differ in opinion with Rev. Spurgeon on the church as the only source of authority. God is our supreme source of authority.
Thank you for your very thoughtful response. You clearly describe the challenge we face as Christians, the dynamic between unconditional love and the nature of sin. An underlying factor for us is humility; as Pope Francis once said, “Who am I to judge?”