The problem with blogging is that I only seem to have great ideas when I'm away from the computer, living life. That's not actually the problem with blogging so much as the joy of living. I guess it's more a problem that I never bother to record these great thoughts in the moment, to be more fully fleshed out later. So today I'm resolving to write a post, though I'm tempted to make a mental note and write it later (riiight).
Today I sat down somewhat discouraged at the amount of Scripture I needed to read to catch up. I've had a very busy week and never seemed to be able to quite finish my chapters for the day. This means I was 3.5 days behind on reading... It's discouraging when looked at as an assignment, and that's how i saw it. God is good, though, and when we are faithful, He blesses us. Sometimes these blessings are immediate! I dug in and lo and behold, I had an Aha! moment.
I was part way through my reading of Matthew when I got to a section of scripture that was obviously a quote. I was in Matthew 11:10 if you're curious. It says "This is he of whom it is written" -- okay, that's a pretty clear indication of a quote. Jesus is referring to John the Baptist. I looked to the footnotes and there was no Scripture reference. "Huh!" Well, this time I decided not to give up so easily. I looked to the column of tiny print that's set in toward the center binding of most Bibles. I found verse 10 and saw the note "10: Mark 1:2; Cited from Mal. 3:1". I flipped to Malachi 3:1 and there it was! I decided to write in the NT reference alongside the Scripture in Malachi.
I've always known that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of prophecies in the Old Testament that come to fruition in the pages of the New Testament. Known, but rarely seen. Some I've learned about in church sermons or Bible studies, but I've rarely taken it upon myself to seek further examples. Today the Scriptures came alive for me! This is truly the living, breathing, timeless, timely Word of God!
There in the Old Testament pages, in a part of my Bible where the pages are pristine from lack of study, I found a reference to John the Baptist! I read the surrounding section of Malachi with an interest it's honestly never commanded before. Here was a piece of insight that will help me understand the often confusing and dense prophecies in the Old Testament!
I returned to my New Testament reading and found further examples of cross-referencing. I realize now that in my frustration with the lack of footnotes and the pitifully incomplete concordance at the back of my Bible, I've been missing out on a key resource! Inset on each page is the truest help in understanding Scripture: reference to other Scripture!
I'm excited to continue my study of the Word and have decided that when I can, I'm going to rewrite those tiny little letters into the margins of corresponding Scripture. For me this is a visual reminder of the connectedness of all Scripture! It shows again the proof that this Book could only be ordained and breathed by God. What human, let alone dozens of humans, could ever have written such a perfectly cross-referenced, cohesive, self-evidencing work over so many centuries?!
So today I found myself unexpectedly and joyously encouraged in the Word. I challenge you to seek out the center column next time you sit down to the Word. I know you'll be encouraged. Why wait? Go try it out now if you haven't ever before!