A jigsaw puzzle. Typically, most pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle cannot be iden-tified when they are apart from their adjoining pieces. When the pieces are finally joined together, a clear picture emerges. Solving a jigsaw puzzle is much easier when the top of the box the puzzle came in illustrates the completed puzzle. Likewise, many verses and truths in the Bible are not clear when first studied alone and out of context. But, by patiently studying and fitting the pieces together, we can come to understand the larger truths as well as each individual piece. Once we comprehend God’s overall plan, it is like having the box top. We understand the big picture, and each point of truth is more quickly understood.
A quilt. Each patch on a quilt has its own design, and all the patches together make an overall design. Each patch is securely sewn to the adjoining patches to create unity and strength in the whole. The same is true of the Bible. Each part has its own message, but each part complements the others without clash or contradiction. They join together and combine into the overall message of God’s beautiful plan for mankind.
A bird’s feather. A feather is a work of art when seen from afar or close up. From a distance a feather looks simple yet graceful, but, when examined under a microscope, it is amazingly complex. Long rows of barbs protrude from the quill, and overlapping barbules protrude from the barbs. The barbules are held in place by hooklike structures known as barbicels. Barbs can be separated from each other and smoothed back into place because barbules and barbicels act somewhat like a zipper. Similarly, the Bible has an overall comfortable simplicity; its messages can be understood and enjoyed by even those with little education.
At the same time, God’s Word is composed of myriad patterns and details that interface and interlock with perfect harmony. The Scriptures offer endless chal-lenges to the serious student who wants to examine it under a microscope.
Those who study the Bible more closely are rewarded with fascinating and edifying discoveries.
The ocean. Although different types of marine life live at different depths in the ocean, they all contribute to one harmonious ecosystem. As a diver goes deeper and deeper, one new world of wonder after another opens up to view.
Likewise, casual Bible readers enjoy the familiar messages near the surface. Those who delve deeper discover new wonders that, while not as familiar, are perfectly designed and delightful.
A huge castle or mansion, with many fascinating rooms. Although the rooms are decorated differently, they have enough similarity to point to one owner and decorator. Each room is full of beautiful, perfect specimens of furnishings and decor, all with rich history and meaning. Likewise, every book and section of the Bible is like another room to be experienced, examined and enjoyed. We can linger comfortably in each room for as long as we like, learning what that room has to offer before moving on. Similarly, the Bible is like a subterranean cavern with its many chambers, all connected with winding passages. Each room has its marvelous stalactites, stalagmites and other unique formations. A Bible student wants to explore each part of God’s Word.
A gold mine. Mining gold usually requires the hard work of digging. When the gold is far underground, miners must dig deep. The Bible has unlimited treasures of knowledge, understanding and wisdom. God offers it to all without charge, but each person must dig to find and obtain it. Even after we have acquired some of the gold, God expects us to keep digging for more. Just as a miner can continue to increase his prosperity, God wants His people to continue to grow spiritually.
An operation manual. Many people make serious mistakes trying to operate a machine without reading the manual. God provided an instruction manual for the humans He created. (He also offers service and repairs for when we are broken or dysfunctional, but that’s another story.) People should realize that the Creator knows better than anyone else how we are supposed to live. But people try to operate their lives without reading the manual. Imagine a machine telling its maker it didn’t want anyone telling it what to do. But foolish people tend to neglect or reject God’s instructions. As a result, they make endless and often tragic mistakes. Let’s read and follow the manual.