Bible Study: Looking Back

One of the best ways we can understand how God is working in our lives right now is to look at what God has done in the past – not just in our lives – but in the lives of others. The Bible is a great record of that activity. THE OPEN BIBLE says “The Bible’s revelation of God’s work in the past provides and informative and exciting panorama of centuries of divine activity toward people.” It gives us “an education of truths unknowable apart from divine revelation….a mass of historical evidence for the truthfulness of the Christian faith….examples to help present day Christians….(and) encouragement for Christians in their life and witness.”

Good counsel is found in Deuteronomy 32:7,

“Remember the days of old. Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you.”

When was the last time you sat down with an older believer, someone whose opinions you respect, whose mentoring you trust, and asked that person about his or faith? When was the last time you said, “You know, I was reading in my Bible, and there’s this passage I just don’t get. Have you got time to talk with me about it?”

Have that conversation – either about a particular passage of scripture – or faith in general – and I bet you learn a lot, especially if it leads you to look back. Look back to “the days of old,” where God did something important (as recorded in scripture) or where God touched your life in a particularly significant way. Ask your “elders” to help you clarify if the way you are thinking about those incidents correctly. You may or may not entirely agree with your mentor(s) and that is OK. Either way, it starts a deep conversation about God and that is always a conversation worth having.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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