21/05/2014 by Chris Green
Yesterday I had the same experience, twice, in different settings.
With a bible open in front of me, I looked at a passage I thought I knew really well, and realised that there was a sequence of words (that is, a verse) that I had hardly registered but now hit me between the eyes.
I hadn’t changed translations, nor was I seeing new doctrines – I just hadn’t realised that this passage taught that. Twice in one day.
We need to keep ourselves open to that experience of God using his living Word to address us, especially if we are charged with the task of teaching it. So here’s what I still do:
- I go back to the original languages and construct a sentence flow diagram. This slows me down. (A lot, because I’m not that good at it)
- I do this by hand, on paper, not on a screen, because that slows me down even more.
- I use multiple English translations, to catch nuances that my clumsy language skills would miss.
- And I must never, ever think that I know a passage well enough to stand up and preach it without doing that kind of work first.
The treasure is in the text. Look for it. Seek it out. Go on a quest.