The Puzzle

One Christmas, our family decided that we were going to become a jigsaw family. We set up a table, sourced the most enormous jigsaw puzzle that we could find, and laid out all its pieces. Unfortunately, our enthusiasm soon proved unequal to the task. From time to time, one of us would walk up to the table, pick up a few pieces, fail to put them together—and then give up and walk away.

It is entirely possible for you and me to study the Bible as if we are picking up bits and pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, failing to put them together, and never seeing the magnificent picture in front of us. In other words, as the book of Hebrews puts it, we can study the Bible and find that it’s “of no value” to us because we “did not combine it with faith” (Hebrews 4:2, NIV1984). We might be meticulous in our Bible study and disciplined in our Bible memorization and yet all the time refuse truly to accept the Messiah about whom we are reading. To such people, Jesus offers challenging words: “You do not have [God’s] word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent” (John 5:38).

It’s sobering to think that even when men and women put themselves in a position to consider God’s word, they might still refuse to come to Jesus, the Giver and Sustainer of life. By nature, we have our fingers in our ears to silence God’s voice. By nature, Scripture tells us, “no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11).

As one author writes, though, while “there is no life in the Scriptures themselves … if we follow where they lead, they will bring us to Him, and so we find life, not in the Scriptures, but in Him through them.”[1] The word of God in Scripture and the Word of God incarnate are interwoven, with the Spirit bringing God’s word to people so that they might meet and discover Christ.

Are you carrying around pieces of the Bible in your mind without putting them together and then standing back to see the beautiful picture of Jesus, arms outstretched, ready to save those who will come to Him in repentance and faith? Will you combine your knowledge of God’s word with true belief so that you avoid the pitfall of knowing a lot about the word without ever knowing the Word? Will you come to God’s word each day expecting to encounter Jesus as His Spirit works through His word? Let us be those who echo the prophet Samuel as we open God’s word: “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10, NIV)

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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