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Monday, November 23, 2015

Not Ready

Concurrent Experience
I am reading a book by D. A. Carson , at the moment he is just about my favorite author.  I am also in the process of observing my youngest grandchild learn to walk.  I am also in the process of studying the gospel of John.  How do these relate?  Carson’s book is on John 14 – 17, I am studying John, my granddaughter is demonstrating one of the verses in John 16.
Not Ready
The Nexus
John 16:12 is a telling passage Carson’s thought is:
The latter is a more common barrier to the verbal communication of biblical truth than is often recognized. A brand new believer with no heritage of Christian teaching may ask, “Just what do we mean when we say, ‘Jesus is God’?” But he expects a far briefer and less sophisticated response than the believer taking an advanced Christology course in his fourth year at a graduate seminary. There might be many more things that could be said to the former brother; but he would not be able to bear them. In the training of new believers, this principle needs to be borne in mind.
My granddaughter has been about actually taking steps for the past couple of weeks.  As of today she will walk quite a few steps and then something will upset her balance and she will go down.  She will get back up.  But she is quite unsteady.  This past weekend the Route 66 Marathon was run in our town.  We did not enter my granddaughter.  She is not ready.  Someday she may be.

In Hebrews 5:11 – 14 the writer rebukes the recipients of his letter because they were unable to understand what he was trying to tell them.  Why?  They were not progressing in their practice of the Word of God.  It was if they were stuck walking like my granddaughter.

Christ knew this about His disciples.  He promised them the Holy Spirit to lead them into the truth.  It is the expectation for all of us as believers that we will grow in our understanding and practice of the Word, largely through that aspect of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives.

However, it is my experience that does not happen with a large number of believers.  It seems that they are content to eat scraps from other’s tables.  Not willing to engage in the Word for themselves.  If they stay in that state, they will never be able to understand the richer answers to the questions.  They will not be able to bear it.

They are missing a lot.


  1. Penetrating thoughts! To pick up on the last point, "Disengaged," I have wondered many times in my own life at this tendency, even desire to eat a "fast food" spiritual diet rather than one that requires the hard work of thinking through truth for myself, then letting the thoughts of others speak to, enlarge and challenge my thinking.

    My own grief journey of nearly a year is teaching me some things in this regard. While I had a habit in the past that I affirm was incredibly valuable to read the Bible through each year, using a different translation, or a couple of times a "chronological" edition. When a crisis hits, there's a perspective that comes from having that sort of background of truth.

    But in the last year I have hungered in new ways to explore relevant specific topics, such as the nature of faith in severe crises, the nature of heaven and what the God actually says about where Sharon is now before our resurrection, what does it mean to grieve shattering loss, etc. Job has become a deeper friend, as has Habakkuk as well as Paul's writings not to mention Jesus' own words, and, oh, yes, even Revelation.

    This to make the point that there is the necessity of both the "big picture" but also particular topical passages to motivate us to press on in seeking and thereby letting the Spirit guide us into Truth, and feed our souls. As much as I gain from the work and experience of others, it doesn't have the same impact as "the pure milk of the Word." 1 Peter 2:1

    1. Your comment that the work of others does not have the same impact as that of your own is profound.

      It is only as we struggle with the text and its implications for our lives that the promise of Christ that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth kicks in. We too often bail out of the struggle for "help" from the notes in our study Bibles, or the "wisdom" of our favorite commentary.

      You are right, we need to be in the Book ourselves, stumbling and halting in our understanding as it may be, with practice we will learn from the Spirit to "walk" in His Word, eventually learning to run the race more effectively.

  2. Whoops - would you believe 1 Peter 2:2??