Recently the building at my workplace had Leon Keer paint one of his famous floor paintings in the lobby. This artwork is simply amazing! I noticed when walking through the lobby that the place I stand makes a huge difference in what I see. The painting looked horrible from the side. How can this be art? But when I stood in the “stand here” spot, my mind was blown! I think it is the same with the Bible. When we do not have the correct perspective, the world around us looks odd. Perspective is why ten people can look at the same text or the same object or the same theological concept, and produce ten different conclusions.
Mission is not the Correct Perspective
For so many years I viewed the Bible by standing on the starting point of mission. Many Bible passages were thus skewed incorrectly. For example, when I read Romans and came across Romans 11:29, I would come to false conclusions: “for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” From the viewpoint of God’s mission, I incorrectly thought this meant I must remain in the ministry I had been committed to.
The reality is that I should stand on love, and let love define “mission”. Then I would see that Romans 11:29 is about God’s promise to not forsake us. The verse has nothing to do with permanently remaining in whatever context of mission we happen to be in. Surely our mission and vocation, and even our belief system, can change many times in a lifetime.
Love is the Bible’s “Stand Here” spot
Based on the classic passage of 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and many others, I suggest that love is where we need to stand in order to see the Bible correctly. Standing in other places may give us skewed and even harmful conclusions.
I would also further like to suggest that love is the one, universal vantage point that is healthy for humanity.
What is love? Love is the very nature, the very being of God, for God is love. Here is the complete list as I read the famous passage. I really enjoyed reading these verses in numerous Bible translations. Love is…
- not jealous
- not self-aggrandizing/bragging
- not proud
- not rude
- not selfish
- not easily angered
- not harboring the wrongs against it
- not happy about other’s failures
- always happy with the truth/honest
- never gives up on people
- never stops trusting
- never loses hope
- never quits
- never ends
When we stand in the right spot, we see things clearly.