This past week at AWANA I was teaching on the high priesthood of Jesus Christ. At first when I saw the topic I felt rather intimidated. This had the smackings of a complex doctrine that I did not know if I truly grasped the depth of, let alone the ability to put it into terms comprehensible to young people with limited Bible knowledge.
As I read through Hebrews 3-10 I realized how uncomplicated the writer made this doctrine. We have spent the year walking through key stories of the Bible, tracing God's plan of salvation from the fall in the garden to Jesus' ascension and now wrapping up with His role as our high priest. The writer clearly shows Christ's qualifications and superiority to everything else in creation, the need to believe in Him, and his fulfillment of both the sacrificial system and the Melchizedekian priesthood. It all made perfect sense. Only He could be all of this, bring all this to fruition and fulfill the hope of generations of the nation of Israel.
After preparing I realized how simple Bible study techniques can make even intimidating doctrines come into clear view. So, I tied that into my talk as well. I spoke about the importance of studying the Bible for yourself, in context. I found a great website (which I couldn't find again to link to, sorry) that talked about the importance of every Christian reading the Bible through for themselves. Start by reading John three times through. At 5 chapters a day it won't take long. Then read the whole New Testament (should take less than three months). Then, of course go for the whole Bible. Having read the whole Bible through a few times over my lifetime, I know the benefit to having that overall framework in mind when understanding and interpreting Scripture.
While considering this, I came up with the following illustration to prove the point. I opened a book I had on hand and read a paragraph from it. Then I began asking questions. . . Who are these people? Why are they drinking coffee? What kind of coffee? Are they all drinking it? Of course, the kids had a great time speculating, but we all knew that their answers had no basis and were actually completely ridiculous to those that had read the book and knew the context. I related that to Scripture and some people's tendency to pull out verses and try to put in meaning that does not belong there.
It sure clicked for some. I saw one of 'my' boys reading to chapter 6 of John the next day (yeah!) Then I got an email that got me really excited. Another AWANA leader took that illustration and shared it at her prison ministry Bible study this weekend, challenging these inmates to read the context not just random verses. They got it, the response was amazing, she said. Even some of the people on her team commented on how that really made them think. So, in some small way I got to be a part of God working in the prison.
It's all about Him, shining through His creation. Praise God!