“I did one of my favorites things the other day,” I said to Stan one morning.
“What’s that?” He responded.
“I spent some time at the Big Barn Book Store just wandering around,” I replied. “I just love looking at books.”
“See anything good?” Stan asked.
“Lots,” I said, “but I was particularly struck by the number of Bibles and Christian books on the shelves. I was really surprised by how many there are.”
“And you probably didn’t see the half of it,” Stan said.
“Why are there so many?” I replied. “Why so many different versions of the Bible? Why so many books on different subjects about Christianity?”
“You ever had trouble understanding something the first time you heard or read it?” Stan asked.
“Of course,” I replied.
“Me, too,” Stan said. “I think one of the reasons it took me so long to become a Christian is it took me a long time, hearing the same message in different words, before I could understand what was being said.”
Continuing, he added, “Jesus often spoke in parables so the people would understand. The message wasn’t any different, it was just presented in a different way to help them know what He was saying.”
“So,” I replied, “lots of different Bible versions and books on Christianity so people have a better chance of understanding. Is that what you’re saying?”
“That’s about it,” Stan said. “As well, I think John’s gospel records Jesus saying something that’s right on point.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“It’s near the end of the twelfth chapter,” Stan replied, “where Jesus said Father God had told him what to say and what to speak. I think Jesus was making a distinction.”
“What distinction?” I asked.
“The ‘what to speak’ part,” Stan replied. “It seems to me Jesus was saying the Father had told Him what to say, the truth, but He was to speak that truth in whatever way necessary for the people to understand.”
“You really see a distinction there?” I asked. “Between ‘saying’ and ‘speaking’?”
“Sure do,” Stan replied. “As well,” he concluded, “I think it’s the same thing today. Not everyone hears and understands the same way. The truth is the important part, and the truth can be and is presented in lots of different ways to give as many people as possible the opportunity to hear, understand, and accept the truth. The important part is the truth, regardless of how it’s presented.”
For I did not speak on my own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say and what to speak. John 12:49.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the truth of you and of your provision of salvation through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Thank you for those who presented to me the truth in different ways so that I could finally understand, accept, and embrace the truth of your provision of life eternally with you when it is time, along with the truth of being able to know you ever more deeply on this side of eternity. Thank you for your provision of the different ways to present the truth so more people have the opportunity to accept all you have for them. I ask you to help me in being able to present the truth in different ways to different people so they will understand. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Can the truth of the gospel be presented in different ways? Why or why not? Is it okay for people to be creative in presenting the truth? Is there someone in your life who needs to hear the truth in a different way to understand? Are you willing to do that? If so, what would it look like for you to do that?