BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV
The more I learn, the longer I live, the greater my appreciation for simplicity. Some of the greatest insight comes from having a “firm grasp of the obvious.”
Preachers and teachers easily become prey to the desire to share teachings that are new, fresh and insightful. It may be out of a desire to impress, to show they have done their “homework” or because the “basics” seem to be insufficient to keep one growing in their spiritual commitment.
Paul was well educated and could stand his ground with the “best of them.” You might recall his discourse on Mars Hill from the Book of Acts. He creatively delivers a compelling and relevant challenge to the philosophers and stoics who daily would gather to discuss and debate the latest ideas.
As Paul comes to the Greek city of Corinth, he specially asserts a different strategy. He says, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.” (1 Corinthians 2:1 ESV) Paul’s desire was not to impress people with himself, but to impact them with the life that Christ has to offer.
The most basic articulation of the “Paul’s gospel” is found at the end of 1 Corinthians, “….Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures….” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4 ESV)
From my observations, the greatest theological errors have come from attempts to ferret out insights that go beyond what is the obvious meaning of a text of scripture. One of the most basic “rules” of biblical interpretation is that the Bible, “says what it means, and means what it says.”
What is it about the Bible and the “basics” of scripture that you tend to “take for granted” or that have become so common that they have lost their “luster” or power in your life? What about just the fact that our sins have been forgiven and forgotten by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ demonstrated in the cross? What about the Lord’s abiding presence in our life to guide and direct and empower us with what we need, when we need it.
Paul’s expressed desire was, “[that] I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10 ESV)
When it comes to spiritual maturity and growing our Christian life, we can feel confident in just, “keeping it simple.” To fully grasp the relationship and privileges we have through Christ and the cross and the promise that is ours in Him is a lifelong journey.
Keep in mind Peter’s final words to believers were, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18 ESV)
Prayer for today…. Lord thank You for the insight and strength that is gained from meditating and appreciating the “basics” of life with You. May our aim to always be to know You more and to have a “closer walk” with You.