In the last Nugget I told you about Gerry, the participant in JPCC, who asked if he could take me to lunch because he had some questions related to Deeper Bible. Actually it ended up being dinner an hour or so before a Deeper Bible session. He had seen the fact that Deeper Bible is CONNECTED. He asked, “Is it true that you have levels within Deeper Bible where you hide clues or hints of deeper things to come? It is like if we look back we see that you gave us a hint about that but didn’t develop it any further. You just left the clue there and developed it a few levels further on. Did you really do that or am I imagining it? It boggles my mind how you could plan to do that.”
Firstly I did it that way because God told me to “teach them like I taught you”. That was the prime benefit of the Bible College Course the LORD put together for me. If I gained nothing else from my two years following my Hebrew and Greek professors around across all year-levels in the same year respectively, I GOT TO SEE THE CONNECTIONS laid out before me day after day. Following Bible College I began applying the things I had learned and digging deeply for myself. Staying with a Bible puzzle until I felt I had solved it, only to realise there is always more. That was a continuing refrain from Prof Basil Brown. He would take us so far only to say over and over, “Class, there is always more. Keep digging.” I began to see that no matter now deeply you looked into something in the Bible, the next time you came back to it you would find something more. Dr Basil Brown spent 5 years studying the Greek text of John’s Gospel. At the end of that five-year-period he then decided he would concentrate for the next three years on John Chapter 1. Three years later he told me in communication that his next focus was to be another year or more (it ended up being another three years) on John’s Prologue – John 1:1-18. Believe me the Bible can sustain that kind of scrutiny. It is indeed that deep!
I learned from Prof Brown how to lead people to discover Gems, Gold, Treasures and even Fish for themselves. I realised “the best teachers show you where to look but don't tell you what to see.” I saw it demonstrated by Prof Brown time and time again. Imagine my surprise when my Brazilian students I taught in Auckland before they went back to Brazil gave me the gift you see below.
I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. Albert Einstein
Only fools think they know all they need to know. The wiser we become the more aware we are of how very little we know. Rick Warren
Unless you try and do something beyond what you have mastered, you will never grow!
Most people don’t get beyond their first revelation. They enshrine it, build a fence around it and stay put.
Those of you who know me, know that I add quotes to the Gems I write. I am currently going through the Gems editing them to fit the features of the new website. Yesterday I noted the quotes I have clipped above as I worked on past gems. This morning I knew I had to add them to this Nugget. It’s all about hearing God’s voice. The wonder is He speaks in so many different ways, but those ways are all connected. Prof Brown on his last day with us in class before he returned to Australia, asked us the question, “Class why did John write “153 fish” in John 21:11? I strongly suggest you check it out. There is gold there.” I followed up his lead and found all sort of things. I wrote to him and told him what I had found. Later I visited him in Australia and told him more. I gave him an update when I was on the verge of completing God’s Awesome Book. Each time he would encourage me and congratulate but always conclude with the comment, “Keep going, there is more.”
As I pulled together the material for Deeper Bible God has brought to mind the passages I needed to include, the treasures hidden in His Word that need to be brought out into the light. But I had learned from the Master, not to just blurt them out but to lead people to find them for themselves. I have experienced the excitement of finding deep truths in Scripture and the reward of sticking with a Bible conundrum until it’s revealed. I have realised over the years that God Himself speaks to our right brains, our intuitive side, our ability to hear His voice inside our head. So I encourage that approach too. At each level of Deeper Bible I include a session called “Experiencing the Bible”. I will share the principles behind this in subsequent Nuggets on Hearing God’s Voice. We are not finished yet. But for now I want to tell you of times that God has given me the leads to put various Deeper Bible levels and treasures together.
When I worked on DB 401, the examples to use to demonstrate how to rightly interpret Bible passages were instantly there in my memory to use. But the Experiencing the Bible focus wasn't. I didn't have it come to mind. I thought about it, searched for it, asked God for it for a couple of months and nothing came. I knew the nature of what I wanted, something that expanded what we had done before it to another level of depth. Yet nothing came to mind. As I lay on my bed awake in the wee small hours suddenly the idea popped into my mind. A practical hands-on-way of applying something we had done before but at the same time taking the application of both Bible interpretation and a word picture we had dealt with earlier to a whole new level. Expanding our minds to take in the grandeur of God’s Word. I lay in bed that morning thinking how like God to do that. Something so deep had come to me in a nanosecond.
When considering what to do at DB 501 Level I had already planned to do something similar by using an example that demonstrates how we need to use the whole Bible to interpret a verse or two which don’t seem to fit with the whole or are at odds with what Jesus said or a the principle taught in the Bible which we know holds true. Many students would ask me why I didn't give them an example of a macro level principle or feature I taught in Level 101. Many have said, “(Pak) Ian it would really help to have an example of what you mean by that.” I would tell them, “Yes, be patient. We haven’t finished yet.” All the while knowing that I planned to include it at DB 501. Other examples I mentioned in passing just sat there at DB 101 Level begging to be investigated but of course most didn't have time to do so. While I knew that we would address numbers of those examples at a later level in depth.
At DB 601 level I had been praying for months for God to give me the example I wanted to use to demonstrate Experiencing the Bible in word pictures in a way that shows how any Bible concept (especially word pictures) expands as we follow them through the Word of God. I hadn’t yet got the right example. I knew what I wanted and I knew what to do with it when I found it, but I hadn’t found it yet. I kept praying about it for three months until one night as I lay on my bed awake around 3.30 am suddenly the perfect word picture popped into my mind and the song to go with it.
While working on DB 701 and gathering the threads of all I had planned from the beginning of Deeper Bible to put into the last and ultimate level of Deeper Bible I was still missing some elements. Once again I knew what I wanted but the perfect example, song or added extra hadn’t come to me as yet. I kept praying and asking God for what I wanted to include. It is my nature to stick with something for months and keep asking God to show me what it is He wants to complete that concept or principle. There was one combination of theme and motif that I was aware of and wanted to develop but I didn’t have all of the wow pieces as yet. The elements that pulled it all together in perfection. I knew I would know what it was when I came across it. I just hadn’t encountered it yet. So I kept praying and kept praying. Then I went off to a Wycliffe staff retreat weekend where Viv Holt was leading us. Imagine my excitement when I realised she had chosen the theme I was looking to develop and connect to its motif. But I was still waiting for the crowning pieces to lift it to perfection. Oh my goodness, the song Viv used and the picture that went with it was PERFECT. I went running up to her at the end and asked where the song came from and likewise the picture. They were both perfect for what I had been looking for. Viv put me on to the artists for both the picture and the song and opened up another dimension and connection to something else I had started in DB 101 but was looking for the capstone. Here it was wrapped up with the 701 motif and theme. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you LORD.
Also at 701 level I was on the cusp of concluding one of the major threads that I had interwoven through the levels of Deeper Bible from the beginning on the word Glory. This was one of the Connections that I had scattered across the length and breadth of Deeper Bible from start to finish. I was sitting in my study at home one Saturday morning, using my Hebrew Concordance to track one particular related word through every mention of it in Scripture. I won’t say what the word is except to say it is a word which is strongly connected with Glory in the Bible. I wanted to develop this concept in other directions when I got an email from Mark Spencer.
Writing Mark’s name at the end of the sentence above I realised I have opened Pandora’s box and don't have the space or time to develop it now before I have to close the box. This Nugget, like so many others, has reached its ideal length at the precise moment I have dropped a gold nugget and need time to develop it. So I am going to leave you hanging until next week before I introduce you to Mark and what was in his email which will lead into another connection and yet another revelation in the wee small hours. A couple of people have said within the last week that is it nice to know that Ian is often awake at 4.00 am. Perhaps I should call you. . . . Be careful with that thought. I too can call you and I am probably awake more often than you at 4.00 am.