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The Bible, and Looking for Car Keys

I had lost my car keys... again. I had help looking for them this time, and when we finally found them, my helper jokingly asked the rhetorical question, "Why are they always in the last place you look?" I stopped for a moment, and thought to myself, "Yeah, why is that?"

Every once in a while a common, everyday event results in an epiphany. This was a big one.

I immediately thought about how people study the Bible. If they have pre-conceived notions and presuppositions about Bible concepts and passages, it's like that person looking for their keys—if you believe that you've already found what you're looking for, you stop looking.

What if you didn't really "find" what you were looking for, but you believed that you did? Is it possible that while reading the Bible, you believe that you've already got the intended message. What would you naturally do? You'd stop looking. You'd stop trying to see more because you already think you're there. Now the bad news: what if you're wrong and trapped in that state of mind? You'd be in a place where you think you've found the message, and you probably sincerely believe that you've found the message—and you'd be sincerely wrong.

Imagine that you believe that God is angry with sinners every day. You've been taught that from the time you were in Sunday school. Now you come across a passage like this:

Psalm 7:11 God [is] a just judge, And God is angry [with the wicked] every day.

{See a more detailed explanation of this verse here}

With the presupposition that "God is already angry with sinners," reading the above verse would do nothing but reinforce the belief you already have. You probably wouldn't think of looking further because you'd think that you already have the understanding of this verse.

And you'd miss looking it up in a different translation (like Young's Literal Translation, YLT). You'd also probably fail to notice that the phrase "with the wicked" is in brackets - which indicates that the bracketed text isn't in the original Hebrew text. It was placed there by the translators, who were trying to add clarity. Sometimes they didn't get it right, but at least they were intellectually honest enough to show us where they did it.

When people think they have what they're looking for, they stop looking. When I realized that, I determined that I was not going to fall into that trap. That day, I became a "seeker"—a person who reads the Scriptures believing that when I seek I can find, and when I find, I can be transformed.

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