Seeing God in Every Text:
(See Previous Post: Seeing the Gospel in Every Text: Part 1)
Scripture is God’s revelation of Himself. It is ultimately about His character and activity as a self-sufficient, self-satisfied, infinite being. His word informs creation about it’s existence, purpose, and the experiences of both the fall and redemption. God has revealed Himself in two particular ways: through creation (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-32) and through His word–both written (Psalm 19:7-14) and incarnate (John 1:1-14; Col. 1:15-23). Jesus Christ, the living Word, is the exact representation of God’s person and the embodiment of all of His glorious attributes. Every characteristic described in Psalm 19:7-14 regarding the word of God is most fully displayed in the person of Jesus Christ.
When approaching any text, we should determine what it reveals about the character and activity of God. The following questions may be helpful in “getting the most out of the text” (as Matt Harmon likes to say it)! The extent to which any text will include these three categories will vary, but every text will reveal at least a few things about God’s character, whether by explicit citation or implicit inference.
1. What aspect of God’s character do we see in the passage?
2. What activities do we see God doing in this passage?
3. What things, events, people, and situations is God concerned about?
An example from Ephesians 2:1-10:
1. God’s Character: Merciful (v.4), Loving (v.4), Life-giving (v.5), Gracious (vv.5, 7), Redemptive (vv.5, 8), Powerful (v.6), Ageless/Eternal (v.7), Revelatory (v.7), Kind (v.7), Author of Salvation (v.8), Creator (v.10), Good (v.10), Sovereign (v.10). There are undoubtedly more, but these should whet your appetite.
2. God’s Activity: God, because of His mercy, loved us (v.4); God made us alive together with Christ (v.5); God, by His grace, saved us (v.5, 8); God raised us up and seated us with Himself in the heavenly places (v.6); God has chosen to one day show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ (v.7); God created us in Christ Jesus so that we might one day bear the fruit of good works (v.10).
3. God’s Concerns: God is concerned for wretched sinners and is merciful in that He does not leave them all that way (vv. 1-4); God is concerned with bringing salvation and new life to the spiritually dead (vv. 5-6); God is concerned with enabling His children to share in Christ’s exaltation (v.6); God is concerned with displaying the riches of His glory and grace (v.7); God is concerned that He alone receive honor for the work of salvation (v.9); and God is concerned that His children reflect His glory by bearing the fruit of good works (v.10). God has a great concern for reversing the curse of the fall and bringing new life to a fallen creation.
As you study God’s word, may you see more of Him in it. His word, first and foremost, is intended so that all of creation might know WHO He is and WHAT He has done. May we praise Him for the revelation of Himself to us!!