Dr. Diffey serves as Associate Professor of Old Testament within the College of Theology at GCU. He has his BA in History, completed an MDiv in Christian Ministry, and earned a PhD in Old Testament before becoming a professor. His interests are in the area of Old Testament and biblical theology. He is married to Anne and has three children.
Have you had a friend or maybe a group of friends that really resonated with a movie and all that you would have to do was quote a line from that movie to evoke strong emotions and memories? So you and your friends might quote movie lines and laugh and have a shared experience.
But have you ever then had someone step into your group who hadn’t seen the movie? They force a laugh and try to pretend that they know what is going on. The reason why the movie quotes aren’t funny to them is because they have not experienced the movie. They were not getting anything from that isolated quote because without the context of the entire movie the quote just doesn’t make great sense.
The problem is that we often read the Bible in the way that we quote movies. We just pick a one-liner here and there and try to memorize it or put it on our wall, but we haven’t experienced the story in its totality. A passage like Romans 8:28 is powerful:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose
But it is so much more powerful when we are familiar with God’s entire workings with humanity from the Garden of Eden in Genesis to the New Jerusalem in Revelation. When we understand that one-liner in the context of the overall story it is so much more impactful and meaningful.
Please don’t hear me saying that we shouldn’t memorize passages. We should. But when we know those passages within the scope of the entire biblical storyline, they are so much more powerful.