Thursday, August 9, 2012

There’s More There to This Square

How many squares do you see?

If you’ve been on Facebook recently, you probably saw the square above. Browsers were asked the actual number of squares in the illustration.

At first glance we see the obvious – 16 larger squares, eight smaller ones, and the large square that includes them all. But if you start counting squares within the larger squares, you find more. I’ve counted 40, although I haven’t read the official tally.

For me, the point of this is there’s often more to things than we notice at first glance. For instance, some of my best friends are people that didn’t impress me initially, but as I got to know them better I discovered there was much more to them than I had realized. (Hopefully some have found that true of me as well.)

Computers, or even smartphones, are similar. Utilitarian that I am, I typically use my iMac or iPhone for specific tasks. When I discover other things they can do I wasn’t aware of, I want to smack my forehead and scold myself, “Why didn’t you know about this earlier?”

Years ago a friend of mine made an interesting statement about the Scriptures. He said he believed the Bible was “a good primer…but then you move on to something more sophisticated.” That, in my opinion, is probably the most uninformed statement in the history of mankind.

As a senior in high school, I read the Bible cover to cover, front to back, as a personal goal. Upon finishing it I closed it and told myself, “Well, I’ve read the Bible,” and proceeded to decide what to read next. Frankly, at that stage of my life I understood very little about what I had read in the Bible. It was a version written in archaic English, which didn’t help, but my thinking then wasn’t far from my friend’s view.

Over the years, however, I’ve learned like the square above, there’s a lot more to the Word of God than first meets the eye. As I’ve said before – like peeling an onion and finding another layer below the one you just removed – the Bible has multiple layers of meaning and truth, far more than anyone could master in a lifetime.

I’ve read through the Scriptures numerous times over the years and each time I discover insights and understanding I didn’t see before. Reading specific passages repeatedly, such as a chapter of Proverbs each day, unfolds new things even though I’ve read and meditated over them previously.

So when the apostle Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (and woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” I’m convinced that’s true.

The Bible in fact is “a good primer.” But you’ll never find or read anything more sophisticated.

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