Seeing Christ in each passage

WORD (jpg)

WORD puzzle

The link above will take you to a PDF of the image and a detailed guide on how it can help us interpret and apply God’s Word. I’ve used it to facilitate many group Bible studies with consistently positive feedback. The video gives a relatively brief overview of the guide.

The PDF is designed to be printed on a half-sheet of 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock (thick) paper, front and back. I recommend laminating the card to keep in your Bible for personal use and group study. Not all of the ‘corners’ described below will be equally plain in every text. In fact, most texts generally focus primarily on only one. However, the end goal is to understand all of the four scenes in the same order of the letters in the acronym: “W.O.R.D.” Just in case you prefer a written description, the following describes the graphics of the basics principles in this biblical guide to reading Scripture.

The brick wall and barbed wire symbolize what we read in Galatians 3:19-24. We are slaves to sin and helpless on our own. The image reminds us of our task to identify the specific aspect of sin (ours or others that does or should involve us) that is being addressed in the text.

The sunshine behind the cloud pictures the message of 2 Peter 1:16-21. God calls us to worship Him in the ‘light’ as the only One who is True and Good. These first two dynamics are in complete conflict. Man is sinful and helpless, and God is completely holy and powerful. Still, our task in this scene is to identify specifically who is God (His character, works, etc.) that we should adore and serve Him. The clouds are intended to remind us that 1) we are separated from God and 2) God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture is increasingly bright (clearer and more detailed) from Genesis to Revelation. The “gospel” (good news) actually starts with bad news. God’s glory shines on our dark deeds and nature of sin. Thankfully, that is not all of God’s message.

God is also merciful and gracious, and His redemptive response is His Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus takes on Himself the punishment that His people deserve and bestows on them undeserved blessings for their spiritual growth and joy. Notice that the flag staff is an exact fit to the flag mount on our prison. This reminds us that each passage will show how Jesus perfectly meet the specific sin problem that is revealed in the text. The graphics of the book, flaming pot and crown on the flag staff practically represent how He does this: by His three offices referenced in Hebrews 1:1-3. Jesus is our perfect Prophet, Priest and King, respectively. The person and work of Christ in these three offices guide and encourage us in how to follow Him and why to trust Him. We are to follow Him by living in His image and speaking His truth as ‘prophets’ in this world, worshipping Him alone as ‘priests’, and being godly ‘kings and queens’ to protect, provide, and progress His kingdom in this world. We are also to trust Him because of His faithful character and effective work in each of these three offices. Our task here, therefore, is to identify the specific way(s) that the text points to Christ as the answer for the specific sin problem also identified in the same passage.

The flag itself and the several asterisks reminds us of the message of 2 Timothy 14-17. Our task in this scene is to “unfurl” the several details of why to trust Jesus or how to be follow Him. If the passage reveals a specific call to faith in Christ (represented by the flag staff), the rest of the passage will detail how to follow Christ (represented by the flag itself). If the passage reveals a specific call to obey Christ, the rest of the passage will detail why to trust Him. His call to faith and following always compliment each other and are always focused on the Lord Jesus.

When we accurately discern what God is saying to us in the passage (man’s problem of sin, His call to worship, Jesus’ work in the conflict between those two, and our proper faith and following), each of the four scenes will be clearly fit with all of the other scenes. If the scenes do not fit, we are either overlooking (or ignoring) something in the passage or we are reading something into it (one of our fears or desires) that simply is not in the text before us.

To use the metaphor of puzzle again, if the pieces of a puzzle are designed to reveal Mickey Mouse working on his relationship with Minnie Mouse in a counseling office, we must not try to force them to show Donald Duck taking a vacation at the beach (or vice versa). The popular saying, “anyone can interpret the Bible however we want” is only true if we leave out key pieces, add others that MAY be part of ANOTHER puzzle but are not in THIS one, reshape and recolor pieces, and force all of them until they fit the picture in our own head.

That is not the spirit of 2 Timothy 2:15.

The other part of the PDF attachment includes two other acronyms: one to guide you in identifying all of the “puzzle pieces” (B.E. S.C.R.I.P.T.T.T.U.R.A.L.) and another on the process for assembling them (4 G.L.O.R.Y.). God willing, over time I will provide future videos that cover both of those acronyms and several practical examples on how to use the W.O.R.D. in specific passages.

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