Have you ever seen a Georgia O’Keefe piece of art? I can’t vouch for all of it, but some of her most famous works are very large paintings of flowers. The unique thing is that she paints in “zoom.” She takes one small square of an entire flower and “enlarges” it so that it’s like you have zoomed in very close to a flower and you are looking at in minute detail.
The kids and I did an art project for school this year using Georgia O’Keefe’s technique of making flowers very big. We took a picture of a flower or plant and laid a one inch by one inch square “view finder” over the part we wanted to enlarge. We created some fun watercolor paintings by drawing the small piece to scale in a much larger square.
I feel like this exercise is a lot like what Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones does in his sermon series on the book of Ephesians. He takes verse one and preaches two 45 minute sermons. He preaches three sermons on verse 3!
In these sermons he keeps saying things like the following:
“It is always good to pay attention to what an author at the outset deems to be necessary and important.”
“I digress for a moment to point out that when we read our Bibles nothing is more important than that we should look at every word, and question it as to its meaning.”
“We must learn how to read the Scriptures; and there is no one thing that is more important when we do so than just this, to ask questions of it.”
Clearly, if this man could extract enough meat to preach 3 substantial sermons on one verse, I should take note and consider that there is so much more to gain from reading Scripture than a nice feeling that I completed my checklist of Scripture reading for the day! There is much in there to chew on!
Like Georgia O’Keefe desired to make her paintings of flowers BIG so that people would have to stop and look, Dr. Lloyd-Jones is zooming in on each word of the book of Ephesians and making the Word of God BIG and BEAUTIFUL so that people will STOP and really look and really consider what the Lord is speaking through His word and how that affects you and me personally.
I began this Ephesians study recently at the invitation of Skip Cone, our friend, mentor, and director of TRIHOP. He spoke so highly of it and I have not been disappointed! The teachings are excellent, giving me fresh insights and things to ponder. But, the real life of these messages has come as I have meditated on the Words of the Scripture and particularly in times with my kids.
The kids and I have been “zooming in” on each verse by doing three things:
1. ASK – Ask questions of the Scripture. Sometimes our first question is simply, “What questions should I ask?” Who? What does this word mean? How does this apply to me?
2. THINK – Think about the possible answers to these questions, using the Scripture itself to help find those answers.
3. PONDER – Consider the implications of the questions, the answers, the words. Let these thoughts penetrate and awaken love for Jesus in your heart!
This looks different each day. Sometimes we just talk together about the verse. Sometimes we each meditate on the verse by ourselves while we listen to music. Someone may write (or draw) in a journal on their own or we might do that together. Someone else may just think about the questions without writing them down.
No matter what we are doing, there has been amazing encouragement as we take the “view finder” and sit it down word by word to enlarge the details of what God is speaking to us through His word.
May we all feel challenged whether we are new in Bible study or seasoned students to think deeply about the word and let it transform us!
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Matthew or Julie Wine