In the Margins {The Whole Enchilada}

typewriter keys

I think we’d all agree — words matter.  It’s a two-way street, conveying our thoughts to others and better understanding what someone is saying to us.  Paying attention to words makes for better conversations!

One of the best reasons I can think to recommend the books under {really} Good Reads — they help us know in greater depth the meaning of many of the words and phrases we find in Scripture and our wider spiritual reading, words that can seem archaic or downright “churchy”.  (Yeah, I see the irony  — I’m pretty sure that’s not even a word! 🙂 ).  These are words we may have heard all our lives but when pressed, we’re not really sure what they mean.  An example is the word Providence.  I always assumed I understood its meaning until I started looking at the scope of the definition.  It’s a beautiful word, rich with layers of connotation and depth.  Words like this are easy to skip over, but looking into them just a little further uncovers some really good stuff!

I often wonder if we’re reluctant to

really dig in because we’re afraid

of what we may find.  Hard truth that

challenges our thinking (and living)?

 Mysterious truth that brings with it

more questions than simple answers?

Overwhelming truth that leaves us

humbled and undone?

 Or if you’re like me, sometimes it’s not that

profound – perhaps it’s more about

apathy than reluctance.

studying

If we’re being honest, we all have our reasons and they may change through different seasons in life.  But, assuming we desire to learn and grow, everything we need to know about God has been revealed to us in His Word and He created us with curious minds and hearts that long to know Him; renewed minds and hearts that flourish under the care of the Spirit, giving shape to our daily walk.  JI Packer in his book Knowing God said it like this: “[I] desire to understand God’s truth in order that my heart might respond to it and my life might be conformed to it.”  I love that for its utter simplicity! This is very different than “knowledge that puffs up” (I Corinthians 8:1, NIV)  It is the Holy Spirit who awakens and illumines our understanding — He is the Spirit of truth. (John 16:13-15)

To this end, it’s always a great idea to have resources on hand while we study, such as a Greek and Hebrew Dictionary and maybe a concordancewoman thinking; and, when we bump into words that make us say “what??”,  many of the authors’ books I’ve referred to throughout this blog bring clarity to these words  in ways that are easy to understand.  All these resources combined can make for a really effective study tool kit.

As a side-note:  Herein lies our disservice to a younger generation of Christ followers —  in an attempt to somehow make faith more approachable, more palatable,  we’ve often dumbed-down so much of the rich language and essence of truth to where it’s nearly unrecognizable at times.  But I believe many of them have seen through the lack and are hungry for the genuine article. They want the whole enchilada!  (Perhaps that’s the first time you’ve heard truth compared to an enchilada?  I guess my point illustrated!)  I’ll climb down from my soapbox now.  🙂

laptop on coffee table

Below is a short list of words and phrases and some of their broad themes I found scribbled throughout my notes.  I’ll keep adding new ones to the list,  as well as further thoughts to these. Please note: These are not comprehensive definitions — most are no more than a jumping off point, focusing perhaps on one facet of their meanings while others put more meat on the bone and help us think about them in their fuller sense. Most of all, I wanted to highlight how these authors’ books can make being a student of His Word all the more enriching.   As you read, I hope you’ll grab your Bible dictionary and word-study tools and dig a little deeper into all the good stuff that lies in the meanings of these words.

One last thought to keep in mind whenever we open our Bibles or a good read — JI Packer gives us this laconic insight:  “All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me.”   Good to remember.

Happy studying, D.


Drawing Design Creativity Art Colored Pencils

Faith  

“For Christians, faith is hope resting on fact.”  “The word faith – ‘believe into’ – gets to the idea of trustful commitment and reliance.  A matter of treating God as trustworthy and committing yourself accordingly.”  (Packer -“Growing In Christ”)

“Obeying God and trusting Him with the results.” (Bridges -“The Joy of Fearing God”)

Fear of God

“Reverential awe.” “A profound sense of awe toward God is undoubtedly the dominant element in the attitude or set of emotions that the Bible calls ‘the fear of God’.” (Bridges -“The Joy of Fearing God”)

Grace

“Grace contemplates our sin and its guilt.  Mercy contemplates our sin and its misery.”  (Bridges “The Joy of Fearing God”)

“We only contribute one element to the formula of grace — our sin.” (Bridges -“The Great Exchange”)

He is Lord   

“All of life under all His authority.” “Authority (in its most basic meaning) is the right to command.” (Bridges -“The Joy of Fearing God”)

Holiness of God

“The entirety of His divine perfection that sets him apart from us.  The sum of all His attributes (mercy, might, love, purity, justice, etc.) (Bridges- “I Exalt You, Oh God – Encountering His Greatness in Your Private Worship”)

“His transcendency”  (Sproul -“The Holiness of God”)

Love for God

“When faith rests in God and Christ with delight, desire, and satisfaction, it is called ‘love'”.  (John Owen)

Meditation  

“The activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God.  It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God.”  (Packer -“Knowing God”)

Patience

“Waiting quietly, without giving in to sense (feelings) or unbelief.”  (Romaine – “Treatises on the Life, Walk, and Triumph of Faith”)

Peace with God

“Being perfectly and continually reconciled.”

“There can be no love of God unless there first be peace with God.  As guilt comes in, love goes out.”

“This is the great leading truth of the Gospel, in which the peace of conscience is principally concerned.  The justly offended God is here revealed under the character of a reconciled Father.” “When this comfortable doctrine is received into the conscience, it silences guilt, and produces peace with God.”

(Romaine – “Treatises on the Life, Walk, and Triumph of Faith”)

 Providence  

“His constant care for and His absolute rule over all His creation, directing all things to their appointed end for His own glory and for the good of His people.”  (Bridges – “The Joy of Fearing God”)

Redemption  

“Rescue by ransom.”

“Concisely stated, Christ gave His perfect human life and His perfect sacrificial death as a ransom, that is, as a payment made by Him to God on our behalf, to free us from the debt we owed to God because of our sin, thus delivering us from the consequences of sin, namely, eternal death…in the court of heaven Christs’s redeemed were set free from condemnation and punishment only when the blood of Christ was accepted by God as payment in full on their behalf.  There can be no other way with a holy God.  Either He forfeits His holiness and becomes defiled by letting unredeemed sinners go free without a just payment, or an adequate ransom price is paid on our behalf by a qualified representative.  Therefore, God must sacrifice His holiness or His Son.  And sacrificing His holiness was never an option.”  (Bridges – “The Great Exchange”)

 Wisdom  

“…consists in choosing the best means to the best end.” “Wisdom in Scripture always means knowledge of the course of action that will please God and secure life..”  (Packer – “Knowing God”)

“Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God’s holiness and sovereignty…acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours.”

(Packer)