When I was young, I was given some old hand me down puzzles for Christmas. These were definitely not children’s puzzles because they contained hundreds of various sized pieces, mostly small, and in all kinds of shapes and colors. The boxes were tattered, revealing that others had used them. I simply had no clue where to begin putting the pieces together. After the decision to try, I dumped all the pieces into the lower part of the box and set up the picture on the box in front of me. I knew that the finished product was to match the picture. I would begin by looking intently at the picture. I would look at it over and over again trying to etch that picture in my mind. The more familiar it became, the more I zeroed in on the location of various color shades and the shapes of the pieces, some with straight sides, some with square corners, some with rounded corners, etc., all the time keeping the picture on the box in mind. Then piece-by-piece, starting with the straight edges and matching the lines and the colors, I began. The outside usually went quicker. Through much trial and error, I began to locate the proper position of the pieces. When I finished all around the outside, I gradually began to make a little progress and headed toward the inside. I did not work long at one sitting, but I was constantly drawn back. One piece here, another there. The hours turned into days and days into weeks, but little by little the picture began to take shape. It did not take much progress to encourage and motivate me to go back and work on it a little more. Then, though agonizingly slow, the picture began to come into view and the progress quickened. At last the final few pieces were inserted and ultimately the last piece was put in. And finally, there it was! When the last piece was put in place, the hundreds of pieces were beautifully transformed into the picture on the box. Piece by piece, I had put it together. It was time to celebrate!
It is very much the same when attempting to understand the big picture behind the Bible. I discovered that there are 178,137 words in the Old King James Bible. No, I did not count them, I just Googled it. There are a lot of small two-letter words and some very big words. God’s Word is a book, and it is to be read and understood as a book, and each word matters. Every word is a piece of the big picture. Where to begin! It seemed overwhelming, but I really wanted to know what the Bible said. As with the puzzle, I decided to start with the picture on the box. Not a picture that I saw but a picture that the apostle John saw and a message that he heard. John wrote at the end of His final book:
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’” (Rev. 21:1-5)
This became my big picture. I began to put the puzzle together piece-by-piece, or as I call it, glimpse-by-glimpse, from the thousands of words of the Bible.
I launched out with the understanding that God had created me for His purpose. God alone made the decision to give me life. I did not ask to be born, nor did I choose who my parents would be or where my birth would occur. He determined when my life would occur. He decided what nationality I would be, that I would be male or female, that I would have blue eyes or brown, black hair, red, or blond, and these decisions were made long before I was here. I was given no choice in any of this. David said that God saw my substance even before I was in my mother’s womb and all my days were written in His book before I was here, and he called this information, “precious” (Psa. 139:17).
I would like to refer to the word “mucilage” mentioned from my last series? Mucilage is a glue-like substance in plants that plays a role in the storage of water and food, seed germination, and thickening membranes. It makes beneficial elements stick to seed to help it germinate and produce. Repetition is Bible mucilage. It makes the amazing living seed of Bible truth stick in minds and become productive. I am a fan of repetition.
The Word of God came directly from God by means of His Holy Spirit and then through the fallen minds and pens of human beings that were set apart for this purpose. Its truth is then made clear to all who are given eyes to see and ears to hear its invisible, inaudible truth. God opens to the eyes of blinded minds that they might understand (1 Cor. 2:7-10; 2 Cor. 4:16-18). The apostle Paul said that in this life we will have only partial knowledge. There will come a time, however, when limited knowledge will give way to full knowledge. Paul taught that when he was a child, he spoke as a child, and understood as a child. But when he became a man, he put away childish things. He then made this point. “For at this present time we see in a glass dimly, but then face to face. Now we know in part, but then we shall know just as I also am known” (1 Cor. 13:12). When believers – those who have the Spirit of God living inside – begin to unpack the truths of the Bible, it is as though they are looking down through a dimly lit corridor. We catch but glimpses of God’s amazing truth here and there. But there is coming a time when God will draw back the curtain and allow us to see – to really see, His wisdom and genius. Our dim, foggy glass will become crystal clear and bright. Full knowledge will eventually prevail. Not full in the sense that we will ever know everything about God. That could never be true, or He would not be God. This is where Deuteronomy 29:29 comes into play. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” God gave us His word in writing through special men that he called “holy men.” His truth came together in one book – the Bible.
Our one textbook is to be the Bible alone and our one Teacher is the Holy Spirit alone (John 16:13-14). At the end of the day, it comes down to what the Holy Spirit teaches us from God’s word, nothing more and nothing less. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth. I assume He means all the truth that we would ever need. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would glorify Jesus Christ – only. He is the member of the holy Trinity that God will shed light on. The Father will take that which sheds light upon Christ and reveal that to us.