Some years ago I learned that my appreciation of a subject was directly related to how much I knew about it. I first realized this when I took on the responsibility to help build an old-fashioned-looking covered bridge, which would span the creek that runs near the Founder’s Home at The Way International Headquarters. As a young man, I knew some things about the structural elements of modern bridges but had never been taught about covered bridges. Developing the design for an attractive yet practical, functioning covered bridge was a challenge that proved to be a rewarding learning experience.
The design process took study and research effort on my part. Since I knew nothing about covered bridges, I needed help from trustworthy sources of learning. I began by collecting resource materials, including pictures of a great variety of bridges. I visited bridges in the local area and took note of the details in their assembly.
Some bridges were made entirely of wood, fastened by wood pegs instead of steel nails or spikes that would prematurely rust away. I collected data on the structural characteristics of the materials normally used in bridge building, such as the maximum weights the materials were capable of supporting.
I was especially interested to read how bridge builders in times past used a variety of wood for different parts of the bridge. These old-timers knew their materials well and understood how to put them to their most productive use. Beams were built of oak in order to take advantage of its strength. Cedar planks were often used as an outer siding covering the beams. Cedar would resist the rain and protect the beams from weather damage. This was great learning for me, and I was determined to put this information to good use.
The more I learned, the more I appreciated the importance of this knowledge in accomplishing my work. Reading about the origin of many bridges and the usefulness and benefits of covered bridges in particular gave me a fresh glimpse of history. I gained greater understanding by putting effort into my research and study, and then I realized much satisfaction in applying my new knowledge to the design. As satisfying as that whole experience was, learning God’s Word has greatly surpassed it.
As a boy and later as a young man, I was curious about the Bible and spiritual matters. However, my ignorance of these subjects was undeniable until someone from The Way Ministry helped me by teaching me what they knew. My appreciation and love for God and His Word increased as my knowledge and understanding of His Word increased. I didn’t gain a knowledge of God on my own; I needed to be taught. The instruction and understanding of the Word I received from The Way’s teaching and study resources became the satisfaction of my soul. For me, this is much like what the psalmist and the Prophet Jeremiah expressed, as recorded in the written revelation of God’s Word.
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.
The statutes, commandments, and words of the Lord were precious in the sight of the psalmist and the prophet and eagerly sought after. These right and pure words satisfied the inner hunger of the listeners. God’s commandments were taught from generation to generation. Then came the ministry of Jesus Christ when he, as the master teacher, taught his followers how to better understand the scriptures pertaining to him and to God’s plan of redemption. One such teaching experience, which took place after Christ’s resurrection, is recorded in the Gospel of Luke.
And, behold, two of them [followers of the Lord Jesus Christ] went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
They were sad because they had given up hope, not really understanding and believing the prophecy regarding Jesus Christ’s resurrection.
And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
These two disciples still had not comprehended or believed that Jesus had been raised from the dead. But Jesus would soon take care of that.
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
At the conclusion of this account their hearts grasped the joy of understanding the Scriptures….
This is an excerpt from the September/October 2005 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2005 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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