Learning New Understandings

For me to learn something new, or have a deeper understanding, it helps if there is a reference made to something that is already familiar to me.

Revelation 17:1-18

Reference:  v.8  The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction.  The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. (NIV Bible)

Explore:  To understand something new it often helps if it is explained in reference to something that is already known.  For instance, when I was learning to drive a car I was able to remember the things my father had taught me when driving the ride on lawn mower.  It was not exactly the same, but the principles were similar and so I was able to understand how to drive a car more quickly.  Another example is that I was listening to a sermon the other day that was speaking of God as all knowing.  The preacher explained that this is like when his wife gives him a particular look.  She doesn’t have to say anything or even use any sign language, but just with that one look he is able to understand exactly what she is trying to say.  This struck a cord with me because I realise that this same situation can happen between my husband and I and so I had a greater understanding of just how deeply God can know us.  For me to learn something new, or have a deeper understanding, it helps if there is a reference made to something that is already familiar to me.

Application:  When the seventh angel was explaining a vision to John in Revelation 17, he uses something that is familiar to John to explain something that had astounded him.  John had heard a number of times before that the Lord God Almighty ‘was, and is, and is to come.’  This was something familiar to him.  But when he saw an abominable woman riding a great and powerful beast he was astonished, and so the angel explained that the beast ‘was, now is not, and yet will come.’  In referring to the beast in a similar way to the Lord God Almighty, the angel was explaining something new to John.  This beast may have looked overwhelming formidable, and yet compared to the God that John knew He was not as powerful or as everlasting.  There are many things in the Bible and about God that we do not understand, and there always will be.  As we share our faith with other people they are bound to ask questions and require explanations.  It is helpful if we are able to explain new things out of an understanding that someone already has.  Jesus did it many times through parables and I think it is a great teaching skill for us all to have.

Prayer:  Lord, may You give us simple understandings so that we can effectively communicate Your love and grace to those we meet.  Amen.

What is something new you have learnt lately?

This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.