Going deeper in the Word of God

Mar 8, 2019 | INSIGHTS

Bible

As a young Christian I remember dreaming of the Bible one day being freely available on a computer. I could never have imagined in those days that are at-once-so-close-and-yet-so-far-off that we would one day be blessed to have such extensive Bible resources available at the touch of a button. Praise God for all who had the vision and the wherewithal to make these great resources a reality: may we be hungry, thirsty and determined enough to make good use of them!

The Word of God is full of stories of God’s goodness. Here in the Malvern Mashal, we love to share accounts of Him at work, whether at home, from across the world or even in history. In this edition, we are forwarding this powerful story of God-at-work amongst the Rendille people [1]. Though our everyday lives are so different, there is an example here that can hardly fail to touch our hearts – and hopefully to inspire us as we enter the Lenten season.

As a linguist, I love words, but it is the Word of God that delights me most of all. God has not led me to study the finer points of Greek grammar, but I love being able to dip into the original Greek via biblehub.com. The site is a treasure trove!

Yesterday, for example, I looked up Mark 13:33 at Biblehub. At the conclusion of His very frank discourse to His disciples about end-time events, Jesus issued them with this warning: “Be on your guard! Stay alert! For you do not know when the appointed time will come.” (Mark 13:33) [2)] Over familiarity with the text can sometimes take away from the immediacy of our understanding – in which case it can often help to look behind the words to the original Greek. The starting verb here – which is often translated ‘take heed’ – is blepete, a word we find used throughout the New Testament and usually translated to mean ‘to see, look at, perceive, or discern.’ Here it means, ‘Be on your guard!’ Whenever we come across this command in Scripture we really do need to heed it!

Continuing further, I discovered that the Greek command to ‘stay alert’ (agrypneite) is derived from two words; the first meaning  to ‘catch’ (as by hunting) and the second, ‘not to sleep’. Jesus is speaking here of an alertness in our spirit that is the very opposite of listlessness or lukewarmness. The idea is that whilst we are to be wary of being deluded, we are not to become defensive or suspicious, but rather alert in the sense of being prepare to go the extra mile in order to acquire understanding and direction – just like Ndubyaao in the post we linked to above. [3]

There is a call here to be eager to ‘hunt out’ to pick up on where the Lord is leading us, and to identify where trends are leading and what He is saying. There is a proper time (a kairos moment) for everything in God’s sight, but much that will only be discovered if we are spiritually wide awake.

Let’s pray for one another, that this week we may all stay alert – and be inspired to go deeper with the Word of God.

And let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in. (Gal. 6:9)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendille_people The name of this tribe – from the north east of Kenya – means ‘holders of the stick of God’. Let’s pray for yet more of this ancient Cushitic speaking people to discover rather the sword of the Spirit!

[2] I love Wycliffe’s rendering: See! Wake ye and pray ye!)

[3] The main story here reminded me in some ways of Mary Jones who, as a young girl, walked 26 miles miles in order to acquire a Bible in her own language.

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