A couple weeks ago I had a visit from a dear friend I haven’t seen in over 15 years. The time passed way too quickly and I was sad to see her go. One of the many things we talked about while she was here was her church back home. Her pastor has gone through the Bible, teaching bit by bit, from Genesis to Revelation. It took 13 years to complete. I think I would have greatly enjoyed being a part of that. . . .
The wisdom of knowing the entire Bible isn’t a new idea for me, I’ve used tools like “Daily Walk” many times to help me get from Genesis to Revelation in one year. But some people have nicknamed this method the Daily Dash because of the quick pace. And I can understand their criticism. So my friend got me thinking about trying a slower pace – just to delight over each chapter, pondering over each teaching and becoming more Christ-like as I move along.
As a result of her visit, I started a personal study of the Bible with Luke’s Gospel. I hope to do Acts next. After that, I’ll just have to wait and see where the Lord leads.
I know I’ve read Luke’s Gospel several times as part of my Daily Walk’s; and yet I can’t really say I ever noticed any of the things I’m learning this time around. My methodical studying, rather than a dashing read, is really a blessing!
It is no coincidence that this study through Luke is also the beginning of my blog. I’ve been wrestling with this blog idea for so long now and Luke has helped encourage me to finally start down the path. As I read the opening verses of his gospel, I found that he wrote this as a personal letter to a friend named Theophilus (meaning “lover of God”).
But it wasn’t just some random compilation of memories. Tradition has it that Luke researched his topic for two years before writing the gospel letter we have today (Life Application Bible). Luke carefully wrote and organized his thoughts, being faithful to an audience of just one. Nearly two-thousand years later, his efforts are still being used by God to bless others. He had no idea, I’m sure, that we would be preaching and teaching from his letter all these generations later.
John Calvin has criticized those who thought Theophilus was a general greeting to all the “lovers of God” in the region at the time. It seems some scholars felt God wouldn’t send such an important message to just one person. Calvin points out that Paul’s letters to Timothy are to “just” one person and no one seems to have a problem there. Anyway, his argument got me to thinking about the parables of the Lost Coin and the Lost Sheep and that when it comes to God, there isn’t any distance too far to travel that one soul might be saved. So I find myself agreeing with Calvin, I think this gospel was indeed sent to just one person. And, praise the Lord, Luke’s “private letter” has forever changed the world.
This week as I checked on my blog space for comments or followers, I was tempted to be discouraged. But Luke’s Gospel stands as an example of “the power of one”. The size and scope of my readership is not what is important. My sprawling notes will become neatly typed, edited, and ordered. And in doing this work, I will remember these lessons all the more – they will become more a part of my soul – not just a passing thought with little or no influence on my daily living.
Like Luke, I have no idea who will ever read what I write. Maybe no one, but if the thought of that imagined reader keeps me faithful to study, learn, and write, then it is already being useful and a blessing to me – also a Theophilus – lover of God. And just like Luke, one is enough to make it all worthwhile.
I Peter 2:2a “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word.”
Recall a time when “crawling” over a passage of Scripture has brought you new blessings.
Who or what has God used in your life to illustrate how important just one coin, one sheep, one soul is to Him?
Describe an unexpected change in your life as a result of an unassuming comment.