My wife recently heard an interview on the radio (AM 900, in the Twin Cities) about Bible Study. Her main point was that we have many groups, but not many Bible studies in the church. There are lots of interest groups, and lots of fellowship groups and plenty book groups, but not many actual Bible studies. The one point that my wife made that stood out to me was that we need to read the Bible first to comprehend not to interpret (or apply). I know that I am so guilty of reading the Bible first to make an application to my life or give spiritual guidance with. This is not the purpose of the Bible. The Bible needs to be understood first before it is given to interpretation.
So instead in the post, instead of trying to apply the Scripture to my life I’ll just simply make some notes about my comprehension, or lack there of. I’ve read Ephesians about five or six times now since beginning at the start of March. Twice has been by listening to it by the Bible App from LifeChurch.tv. It’s a super great resource for having the bible with you at all times. The fact that it comes in audio as well is like the cherry on the sundae; awesome!
Here’s Ephesians 1:11-14
11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
What is comprehended?
If there is a God, and I do believe there is one, but three-in-one, then He certainly does have a plan. I am “chosen” by him AND “predestined” according to His plan. He has a plan. If there is a God, then He is sovereign and has control. I need to let God be God. To abide in his plan.
What’s hard about allowing God’s plan to work is that I want to be in control. The 21 Kurdish Christians who were beheaded certainly had other plans for their life. I don’t believe it was God’s will that they were murdered. But I do think if God has a plan, then something good will come from the awful evil that exists in this world.
I am also included in Christ when I believe. I understand that there is a condition required to be included in Christ to receive salvation. But not only Christ, also the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit becomes my guarantee of the work of Jesus. I am his possession, and the Holy Spirit is the mark that proves to God that I am His.
“To the praise of his glory” is used twice. Once in verse 12 and again in 14. I know from other literature classes that anytime something is repeated it carries extra weight. It is a particular statement that needs to be paid attention to.
There is something unnerving about being created to worship, and something rather comforting about it as well. It is unnerving because from observing everything else on earth, there seems to be little worship. I mean a rock is a rock, and a tree is a tree, so I suppose they are worshiping God by being what they were created to be. So why is it that I am created to worship and yet often have little desire to. Or maybe I recognize that I am often worshiping myself in my activities. Maybe it’s unnerving because I see my selfish nature that only wants to satisfy my desires; certainly not other’s, let alone God’s.
Yet, there is a comfort, for me at least, in knowing that I am created to worship in that there is something bigger and greater than myself. That this being, that created me “to the praise of his glory” invites me to be a part of his eternal reality (I am not implying becoming God, just that we become like God. We are image bearers, mind you.).
I want to believe in Jesus so that the Holy Spirit marks me as God’s inheritance. I’m not sure that I’ll figure out how to fully become “the praise of his glory,” but I have eternity to figure that stuff out.