二○一九年八月三日／八月四日 Click here for English version
Live Out the Truth and Encounter God
Rev Ning Doh Chuen
We all know the Bible is the Word of God. But often enough, we do not take it seriously nor do we know what to do with it.
Once in a dialogue with an expert in the law (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus replied, "You have answered correctly" (Luke 10:28a). We can see that Jesus emphasized understanding the Bible correctly. In fact, this teaching is repeated in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) and to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:25-27). For the same reason, we desire to learn Bible study methods such as Inductive Bible Study (OIA – Observation, Interpretation, Application). They enable us to correctly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
But Jesus also stressed the importance of practicing the truth. Jesus told the expert in the law twice to "do" it (Luke 10:28b, 37b). Indeed, this is what the Lord expects us to do – practice the teachings of the Bible. One mistake we often make is that once we understand the teaching in a Bible passage, we suppose we are practicing it. But we might not have internalized the teaching and it is not necessarily part of our lives.
Jesus showed us a way to practice the truth. Through the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-36), the Lord outlined a scenario by which the expert in the law can love his neighbor as himself. Likewise, we can identify a real-life situation in which we can practice the truth that we have learned. For example, if we have learned to love our enemy, we can pray for one whom we consider as 'an enemy' and learn how to resolve the conflicts in our relationship.
While it is important to study the Bible, understand and practice the will of God, it is even more important to encounter God in Bible study. The Bible is the living Word of the living God. It means the living God communicates with us through the Bible. Studying the Bible without encountering God is like merely studying the thinking and theories of great philosophers. Jesus said, "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life" (John 5:39-40). Dietrich Bonhoeffer has said that the Bible is not something being studied (the object), but the Word of God that speaks to us (the subject). Once when I was meditating on the passage about Jesus restoring a demon-possessed man in the region of the Gerasenes (Mark 5:1-20), I saw myself like a demon-possessed man, bound by concepts that do not align with the truth. That time, the Lord spoke to me through His Word, and I was healed.
May every brother and sister of the NPAC Family experience the resurrected Lord. May He "open the Scriptures to us" (Luke 24:32).