The Masters’ Ways
Recently, I watched a documentary on a professional pianist’s journey to play through Beethoven’s piano concertos. I enjoy geeking out over musical themes and motifs. I’ve also been watching rehearsal videos from the Royal Ballet. Exquisite! One would think that by watching the rehearsal the magic would be gone.
Wrong! With both the Beethoven piano concertos and the ballet rehearsals, I gain even more respect for the composers’ or performers talent, training, and/or genius. I had feared breaking down the art would cause it to lose its beauty and depth and leave me cynical. Instead, I am impressed more than I would have been just listening to the music or watching the ballet.
The Master’s Way
As a cause-oriented society, we find our worth in making things better. Christians have bettered the world in many ways. Unfortunately, one of the things becoming worse is our understanding of Scripture itself. somewhat recently (2016) published book calls the Bible the Invisible Bestseller, making the case that the Bible is popular, but “untouched.”
We’re fine with a Christianity that touches our heart and hands, but not so much when it comes to letting the truth touch our heads.
Like my initial concern with the Beethoven and the Royal Ballet, perhaps there is a fear that studying theology or some of the more obscure books of the Bible will be boring. Or make us dull and pedantic. I mean, what good does knowing Ezekiel have to do with bringing food, water and the gospel to poor people in Cameroon?
Thankfully, this isn’t an either/or. We can serve and we study.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. — II Tim 2:15
Some of my favorite Bible studies are ones where the teacher opens the Word and we take apart the “themes and motifs” of the book and how it fits into the greater arc of the Gospel. It’s hasn’t been dry or dull at all. I have new-found respect for the books of Ecclesiastes, John, and I Peter from such studies. The class on John blew me away with the depth of literary beauty, not only the depth of truth about Jesus Christ. The deeper my mind gets engaged with the Word, the greater my heart is enraptured by the WORD (<< Jesus, obviously).
Seek the truth and you’ll find Jesus.*
The longest chapter in the Bible (Ps. 119) is a love song to the Word of God. (Hmmm, telling!) If David wrote this song, then it may be that his respect and love for God’s Word is one of the reasons that he is called a man after God’s own heart.
Based on research of the early church fathers and ancient sources, I found out that David did write Psalm 25. Kidding, it actually says that it’s a Psalm of David in the heading.
Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day. – Ps 25:4-5 (emphasis mine)
The pianist mentioned above spent nearly half a decade immersing himself in Beethoven’s music. Would that I had such discipline and desire to immerse myself in God’s word. Studying the Bible should be a life-long discipline and it will reward us with more reasons to be in awe of the God it reveals.
* A paraphrase of a quote by Sean McDowell as said to him by his father, Josh.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.