I was reading in Luke this morning, and as I skimmed over the familiar passages, memories of hearing some of them used as focal points in a sermon surfaced. Not that doing so is necessarily a bad thing. Many preachers and teachers do that as a form of their particular style.
But I specifically remembered some television preachers, (who are no longer on television) picking out verses to support their specific personal truth without any hint of reference to either preceding or succeeding scriptures. They had an agenda, and certain words fit perfectly into their plan to achieve their goals.
It has taken years, and some excellent teachers, to help me see the full impact that my lack of knowledge of original language and the grammar in the translations, has on what I understand. The understanding of punctuation and how it determines a meaning in a section can help us understand the verses more easily, and can help us avoid taking a road that slips and slides away from truth. Yet another reason why it is so important to ask the Holy Spirit to show us truth as we study, and be ready to accept that He will show us when “our truth” is not His.
The teaching in the verses below are so rich. And so many of them can be taken out of context and at the very least confuse people. The beatitudes are favorites of mine, verses I go back to when I feel like I need a quick refresher course in who I am in God. I know I am far from the best student of God’s Word. I know I am as guilty as others in misreading, misunderstanding, and even speaking out in confidence only to find that I had it wrong.
Our walk with the Lord is a journey. A life of preparation, of ups and downs. But we never walk it alone. Personally, and I’m sure I’ve shared this before, I like to read scripture without the verse references. They were not written with the verse references, those came later for our benefit, and when I read them as they are shared below, it is to me like a personal letter from God through the writer directly to me.
Continue to trust God. He will help you understand. Our lives can be an adventure, and even when faced with the trials we face today, the Word is still there to guide us, strengthen us, and help us live in the joy of our salvation.
Be blessed! – Vicki
Luke 6: 20-49 (ESV)
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”