Sunday, October 20, 2013

Words of Truth from Days Gone By

"Nor is there salvation in any other, 
for there is no other name under heaven 
given among men 
by which we must be saved."
Acts 4:12

I love old books.  I love the look of them ~ the simplicity of the covers, the subdued colors, the jagged edges of the pages... I love the smell of them ~ a little musty and, well, old.  I love the titles which often just sound like titles from way back when. 

Whenever that was...

I was just given the gift of several old books from a friend of mine.  She and her husband are downsizing, and she's getting rid of some stuff, and asked me if I wanted a few things.  So I've been having fun exploring these books ~ familiarizing myself with the authors, trying to find publication dates (who knew there was a time when those weren't printed on the title page with the Library of Congress catalog number!)

Of course, the best thing about old books is the language.  Some old books just sound old.  Like Dick and Jane.  I mean, partially you can tell it was written in a different time because there are fewer boys named "Dick" these days.  It would have to be "Jake and Brittany" nowadays.   Or maybe "Josh and Kaitlin".

But sometimes you can just tell a book was written when life was a little simpler.   I mean, can you imagine a detective in a mystery novel today, using just the phone book, old newspaper clippings and his gut?  No internet, no smartphone, no forensics?

So, along those lines, let me share with you something in I read in an old Bible commentary.  It is from the Heidelberg Catechism, written in the mid 1500s. 

It's just a question and an answer.  (The Heidelberg Catechism is a series of questions and answers.)  At first reading I thought it was a little simplistic.  I like chewing on the meat of Scripture; finding deeper meaning and underscoring the depth of a passage with other passages elsewhere.  But sometimes I find myself studying a tree so closely, I forget about the beauty of the forest.

So please ~ read and enjoy.  Revel in the simplicity of thought, and meditate on the immensity of the impact on your life.

"How many things are necessary for thee to know, 
that thou, enjoying this comfort, 
mayest live and die happily?"

"Three.  The first, how great my sins and miseries are;
the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries;
the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance."

See?  A sweet and unadorned reminder of the truth.

"Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations"
Luke 24:46-47

"But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
1 Corinthians 6:11

"through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins"
Acts 10:43

"For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.  But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Titus 3:3-7

"Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not!  How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?"
Romans 6:1-2

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness and truth, finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."
Ephesians 5:8-11


  1. Perhaps it sounds simplistic, but maybe we should read the scriptures unadorned, as you present them, without any accompanying interpretation, and let the Holy Spirit teach us what they mean.

    What a concept!