Rhythms of Grace | Thursday, Week 4

Spiritual Practices: Couch to 5k

As you read Genesis 3:1-24, pray for insight from the Holy Spirit.

What is surprising to you from the reading today?

Describe God’s behavior toward Adam and Eve.

What stands out to you as you read today?

Putting It Into Practice

Rule #4 Let the Text Lead You

We all bring certain biases and assumptions to the text. As a Christian born and raised in the western part of the world, I bring a different perspective to the text than a believer living in the eastern part of the world. Everything from our political affiliations to our social conditioning can affect how we read and interpret the Bible. Just as the goldfish is unaware of the water in which it swims, we are not always conscious of our views of reality. These presuppositions—what we think we know about the Bible or God can hinder a proper understanding and interpretation of a passage. God gave us the Scriptures to speak to us—not for us to speak to the text. 
 
A good example of this is found in Matthew 24:36-41. Jesus is teaching about “the day your Lord will come.” He said, in verses 40-41, “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”
 
Most of the time, when people read this text, they assume they want to be the one taken, not the one left. Who wants to be “left behind”? This is largely based upon a cultural perspective of escapism within Christianity and a popular Christian book series turned movie by Tim LaHaye, regarding the idea of rapture. 
 
However, when read in context (see Rule #3) and without assumptions, we should draw a completely different conclusion. In the verses before, in Matthew 24:37-39, Jesus taught, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
 
Jesus compares his return (“the coming of the Son of Man”) to the days of Noah, “when the flood came and took them all away.” During the time of Noah, who were taken away? The correct answer is the unbelieving people--they were taken away, and Noah with his family were left behind! “So too will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.” 
 
When we check our assumptions and pre-understandings at the door, we arrive at a proper interpretation: you want to be left behind, or preserved, just as in the days of Noah.
 
We must be better students of the text! Paul encouraged Timothy to be someone who “correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). In order to do this, we must be willing to let go of our agendas, pre-understandings, and assumptions. Let God through the text speak to you.

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