Lessons,  Spiritual Growth,  What I'm Reading

As Long As I Breathe

Have you ever heard an illustration used over the years and thought, “that makes sense and helps me understand” some spiritual concept, only to later find out it’s not a correct illustration for that concept? That happened to me this past week. I have so much to learn, even at 70 years of age, and almost 50 years of studying the Bible! Right before I run across my life finish line, I’d love to have a Bible in my hand saying, “hey, did you know this is in scripture?” Then I can take my last breath and wake up in the presence of Jesus! But until then, I’m still learning.

I just started a new study by Tara-Leigh Cobble (The Bible Recap), He’s Where the Joy Is.

This is a study of the Trinity. In one of her videos, Tara explains why an illustration I thought was accurate (and have even used before with my kids when they were young) was actually inaccurate! Perhaps you’ve heard the description of the Trinity compared to the 3 forms water: solid, vapor and liquid. Three forms of one thing. But she opened my eyes to a misunderstanding about this idea.

We know the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three expressions of one God, but when we understand they don’t give up one form to produce another, that they all exist at the same time, we see the incorrect use of this water illustration. Ice cannot also be water, vapor cannot also be ice. But Jesus can also be God completely without changing His form. The Holy Spirit doesn’t “unbecome” the Father to be the Holy Spirit. (I’m sure I’m not explaining this nearly as clear as she did so get her study! )

He is one God, expressed three ways. But each of these ways is fully divine in essence, or substance. This is why the water illustration just doesn’t really fit! So, I not only learned I had believed a wrong concept about the Trinity, I’ve also already learned several other things that take me deeper in my understanding of the Trinity and I just started!

I first understood the Holy Spirit as a “He” rather than an “it” when I was in Bible Study Fellowship around 1980. Since then I’ve gone deeper in my understanding of who He is along with who the Father and Son are. And now I’m understanding better how they relate to each other as a trinity of who God is.

Another concept she talked about in week 1 of the study is the difference in progressive revelation and corrective revelation. Throughout the Bible God reveals more and more of Himself progressively, not to correct any “mistake” or surprise in the plan. The plan has always been in place, but it’s revealed over time. In fact ,I wrote about this last week in He’s Got the Power. He doesn’t negate what He has done in the past, He builds and expands the revelation as time goes by in Scripture. The author even reminds us that that although the word “trinity” is nowhere in Scripture, the hints of the Trinity begin in Genesis.

The point is, as long as I breathe, I must be open to learning more deeply who God is. This is why we do not stop studying the Bible. And this is the reason to read all of the Bible chronologically. We need to see this progressive revelation of who God is. When we just open up and read and do not understand how that portion fits into the whole of the story of the Bible, we do not always get a clear picture.

So once again, let me offer a very doable way to read chronologically. I’ve used two reading plans with my D-groups so they get a full picture of scripture as a whole. We begin with Foundations 260 to read through the Old Testament. This covers every major story of scripture although you do not read every chapter in the Bible.

Then we put that down and pick up the Foundations New Testament 260 so that we read ALL of the New Testament. (See this line of reading plans here.)

It takes about 16-18 months with each D-group to do this, but not one of my girls has regretted studying this way. You only read 1 to 2 chapters per day, 5 days a week. VERY doable and SO rewarding! I hope you are encouraged to do it as well.

Whatever you use, keep studying and leaning as long as you have breath in your lungs!

Banner photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.