Writing Today’s Word leaves me with an enormous problem. Scripture isn’t bits and pieces. It’s a whole unit, an extended story of God’s interaction with the world, in particular, with the people He calls Israel. How it all fits together is really the job of exegesis. Dealing with one tiny piece at a time often obscures the whole forest among the leaves of a single tree. So, when I write about one small word, or one part of one small word, it might lead the reader to conclude that bigger things have gone amiss. Where is the illumination of the cross or the blood, the glorification of God or the final victory celebration? Where do we find the grand themes of justification, sovereignty, ecclesiology and eschatology? They are there, but hidden from view in the microscopic detail of an individual leaf.
I firmly believe that without a deep grasp of the beginning – Genesis – we will quickly get lost in the rest of the plot. Everything depends on what God orders at the beginning. Everything moves from and elaborates the deep themes of the beginning. If you can’t find it in Genesis, then you are probably looking for the wrong things.
But what a huge problem this is! The last time I taught Genesis as a group study (not as a quick seminar) it took 18 months to go through the text, 2 hours a week. That’s about 150 hours of study. We could easily have doubled that, but we had to hurry! Today’s Word could spend the rest of my life just in Genesis, one word at a time. We would be far, far richer for the experience. We would know our Lord much, much better. But then what do we do with all the rest? Wait for eternity, I suppose.
So, Today’s Word jumps around. It picks a word here, a phrase there. That might leave you thinking that the WHOLE doesn’t matter, or that it is disconnected from the big issues. Please don’t draw that tragic conclusion. The only reason Today’s Word moves across the biblical geography is to give you a little hint about the depth of every passage. But if I had my choice, we would spend twenty years on Genesis.
Exegetically, Today’s Word deliberately commits a big mistake. We should provide much more background. We should look at the bigger setting of each verse. We should do a lot more work before we pick up a single word. But we can’t – at least not in this format. All we can do is point.
This is extremely frustrating for me. I want to follow a single verse, a single word, deeper and deeper into the heart of God. Where is the time to do that, or the audience who would follow such a path? So, if I haven’t touched on something near and dear to your heart, if you think Today’s Word wanders too much, remember that I came to point. Look here. See what you find. Then go seek.