Four soul–searching questions from the Bible
I believe that Christians are people of the Bible. As a child of God, I stand firm in the faith that the Bible is the living Word of the living God. In the Bible, God has made Himself and His will known to us as the written revelation. Having said that, I am humbled to share four “soul searching” questions that I have found in the Bible through my personal encounter with God’s words as I have daily walked with Him. It is my testimonial and conviction that these self–reflected inquiries as derived from God in the Bible have enhanced and enriched my spiritual journey. I seek God’s will in my life as His child and I long to find the right path for the more excellent way of living in Christlikeness.
Where are you?
This first question comes from Genesis 3:9 as the result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God’s command. It forbade them from eating fruit from “the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve hid in an attempt to escape the wrath of their Creator. However, God appeared to them and asked, “Where are you?” I believe that this question was God’s redemptive invitation for them to recognize the naked truth of their inner condition and spiritual status rather than as a rebuke. God’s question reached beyond the guilt and shame of His beloved creatures. This inquiry manifests God’s unflinching and merciful heart. He offers a second chance to His backslidden children. We might ask ourselves, “Where am I in my relationship with Jesus?”
Who do you say that I am?
The second question, which derives from Matthew 16:15, is the most significant Christological question in the Bible that relates to the purpose of Christ’s redemptive mission for all God’s people. Jesus asked His disciples this question near the end of His earthly ministry and prior to His crucifixion. Regardless of one’s Christian reputation, experience or background, one cannot escape from this honest and transparent question. What would your response or confession to Jesus be?
Do you want to be made well?
Jesus asked the third question in John 5:6 of the man who had been ill for 38 years as he sat by the place called “Sheep Gate” in Jerusalem. This question signifies a divine invitation and affirmation of Christ’s therapeutic call for holistic salvation for the healing of physical illness and for the restoration from exposure to inner spiritual diseases as we live in this wounded world. How desperately do we want to grip the healing hands of Christ today? Do we want to be freed from our sinful bondage?
Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?
The fourth question is from the Apostle Paul in Acts 19:2. As an heir of the Wesleyan–holiness movement, I consider his inquiry to some disciples in Ephesus to also be one for us to consider. Salvationists are eager to ask this particular question regarding our desire to seek the God–honoring way of the Christian life. This expectancy marks our pursuit of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second work of grace, following the first work, justification. Ask yourself, “Have I received the Holy Spirit?”
Finding Yourself in the story
St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556) and founder of the Society of the Jesuits, taught this method of engaging Scripture. It involves slowly and prayerfully reading a portion of Scripture and encountering Christ through His living Word.
Read a story from one of the Gospels and use your imagination to place yourself in the story. For instance, imagine that you are in Galilee with Jesus and the disciples. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? Is it warm or cold, wet or dry? Place yourself in the sandals of one of the characters: a disciple, an onlooker or the person being healed. What is Jesus doing? What is He saying? What would your reaction be if you were actually there? As you “enter into” the story, what feelings do you experience?
Rather than simply reading the story from the point of view of a 21st century person, this process allows us to engage the story and imagine what it would have been like to actually be there and experience it first hand. It brings the story alive and helps us to understand it better.
Choose one of these portions of Scripture and try this method for yourself.
- John 2:1–12
- Matthew 8:23–27
- Mark 10:46–52
- Matthew 14:13–21
- Matthew 17:1–9
Jesus Calms the Storm
Feeding of the 5,000
The Transfiguration of Jesus
Journal your thoughts and spend some time reflecting on your experience. What have you
learned about Jesus and about yourself? What is God saying to you through His Word as you read it using this method?
“Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two–edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” Hebrews 4:12 (NRSV).
by Major Young Sung Kim
Territorial Ambassador for Holiness