Reading the Bible 3-D isn’t necessarily hard; it’s just different because we’ve always read it a certain way.
2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom [I figured out that for me to not look at Scripture 3-D was because of my pride; I had to let it go and see what Jesus said about the Scriptures].
Yesterday (scroll down to read it), we talked about how to read the Bible 3-D: Literally, Morally and Spiritually. Let’s look at them again:
- Literal– it is the grammar part, the skeletal layout of the text. Is it narrative? Poetry? Story? Who wrote it? To whom was it written? When? Under what circumstances? What is the CIT (Central Idea of the Text)?
- Moral– it is the questioning part: How does this passage apply to my life? Is there a “moral” to draw from the text? What was the author trying to say? What can we draw from the story, either to do or not do (cautionary tale)?
- Spiritual– Jesus said that all Scripture points to Him, so we ask, “How does this passage point to Jesus?” Seeing Jesus in every passage is difficult, especially in the Old Testament. Many times, we must realize that people’s veiled hearts are exactly what we are supposed to see: distorted, confused, and incomplete views of God and His Son.
Here is Psalm 101 for our dissecting pleasure.
I will sing of lovingkindness and justice,
To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.
2 I will give heed to the blameless way.
When will You come to me?
I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.
3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not fasten its grip on me.
4 A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will know no evil.
5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy;
No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.
6 My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me;
He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me.
7 He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me.
8 Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land,
So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity.
Literal- David is praising the Lord. He attests to his success in keeping the law and recounts yesterday’s successes in keeping his integrity according to the law. He commits to conscripting others into keeping the law. In many versions, it says, “I will slay sinners…” We must remember that David lived in a war-world. David did not usually make peace with the enemy; he conquered or killed them.
Moral- The things that David did in order to fulfill the law were not bad things. We would all do well to:
- Sing praise to the Lord.
- Lead a blameless (upright) life.
- Conduct our affairs with integrity.
- Not hold company with faithless people, those who run their mouths, nor those who practice deceit or lie.
Spiritual- Where is Jesus in the text? The law was everything to David. Even so, we find in his life that he was not always successful in keeping it (2 Samuel 11). Thus, Romans 3:25 comes into play, “through the law we become conscious of our sin.” We have the fulfillment of the law in Jesus Christ. He, through His in-dwelling Spirit, gives us the motivation and the wherewithal to accomplish such feats.
There is an overall theme here from which we can benefit. David talks about yesterday and then today. He is basically recounting yesterday’s successes and then committing to work on repeating those successes today. We would do well to recount yesterday’s successes and then commit ourselves to the Lord to hear His voice and be obedient to Him in order to have success today. Tomorrow, we do it again.
Reading the Bible literally is what we do most. We take it at face value, so to speak. Reading it morally is not uncommon for us. We ask, “How can this passage apply to my life?” But, reading it spiritually is not something we do on any regular basis. In this case, we had to determine that the law was important to David, which gave us something (in contrast) to apply. David’s not having the Spirit as we do is a big deal in how he hears God, perceives what God says, and how he interprets the message through his various filters (his raising, the times, his current position as king of Israel, as a warrior, etc). We, on the other hand, have the Spirit of Christ to teach us all things and Who will lead us into all truth. He is our Counselor and Guide.
It is evident that there are more layers of meaning in the Scriptures and we need to learn to find them. Reading the Bible literally, morally and spiritually is a great way to peel back the first two layers to that third layer. By the way, the passages get harder.
Abba, thank You that You are pleased, even delighted, with us. We no longer have to keep the letter of the law. If we are obedient to You as You lead us, then we keep the law that You wrote on our hearts, the law of love! Deepen us, Father. We want to see Jesus in every verse and every word. Amen.