By Morgan Thompson
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! -- Psalm 119:103
As Christians, each of the fellows (and many of you faithful readers) have probably read this verse. The psalmist praises the Word of God in scripture and calls it a sweet treat. I agree with the psalmist wholeheartedly when I read passages about the love of God, his plans for my life, and the salvation that comes through Jesus like Romans 8, Jeremiah 29:11-13, and John 10:27-30. There are other times when it seems like honey is an acquired taste. Lists of name after hard-to-pronounce name, prophecies with strange imagery, and even the more famous stories that we’ve heard time after time can grow dull and dim. Reading the minor prophets and history of Israel seems much more like eating your vegetables as a kid. You don’t like it, but you do it because someone has made you feel like the right thing to do. Thankfully, Dr. Fullilove has had us on a steady diet of the Old Testament since September, and I’m learning to love it.
Our seminary classes through Reformed Theological Seminary have opened our eyes afresh to the beauty, coherence, and applicability of the whole Bible. This semester we are continuing Biblical Theology with Dr. Bill Fullilove, and have started Identity and Relationships taught by Dr. Bill Clark (with extra insight and baked treats from his wife Debbie). In very different ways, both classes make the Bible come alive. They enrich our understanding and engage our imaginations.
The Bible is the longest book, oldest book, and the book with the most authors that many of us will ever read. On top of that, everything was written in cultures half a world and many, many centuries ago. It’s no wonder that it can be confusing and foreign. Dr. Fullilove is on a mission to show us that the grand story of the Bible from beginning to end is a story that should shape our lives. Recently, we had a lesson on Hebrew poetry. I think we all had a lightbulb moment when Dr. Fullilove explained that all the indentations and spaces are actually there to help us digest the meaning of the Psalms. The songs of scripture became understandable and even more beautiful.
Dr. Clark takes a different approach. His years of experience as a clinical psychologist sprinkle his teaching with openness, understanding, and an appreciation for how the truths of the Bible can bring life-giving change to our relationships with ourselves, each other, and our God. One particularly poignant exercise was to think of all the word-picture ways that God is described in the Bible. The good shepherd, rock, strong tower, the bird whose wings shelter you. He asked us to pick our favorite and reflect on what it might say about our relationship with Jesus and with others.
Of all the things I could say about these classes, I’ll leave you with this. During each class session, I wish that others could join us. There is a richness and excitement that comes with engaging the Bible with our whole selves. The fellows are very blessed to have great teachers, but Bill and Bill aren’t the only people who can deepen your relationship with God through a greater appreciation for His word. Try the honey, I promise it’s sweet.
Pictures from the Week