Read the Bible in 2011–2021* ◊ Week 21: Saturday
Today’s Bible reading is Luke 5–6. Before you read, ask God to teach you from these chapters. Ask Him to change your mind and your heart and your will to follow Him.
These events of these two chapters occur early in Jesus’ ministry. Luke 5 opens with the calling of two sets of brothers who were fishermen to be His disciples: Peter, Andrew, James, and John (cf: Matthew 4:18–22, Mark 1:16–20). Matthew is called in Luke 5:27–28, and then Jesus names all twelve who will be His disciples in Luke 6:12–16.
The Greek word for disciple means learner, and the Greek word for apostle means one who is sent. These men will now walk with Jesus and learn as He teaches, heals, and interacts with people. After His resurrection Jesus will send them out to preach the Gospel.
I know these words may already be familiar to you. As you read I’d like you to think about what these men are learning in these two chapters. Who is in these chapters? What do they learn about Jesus? How do they learn from Jesus? What do they learn from Jesus about themselves and how they are to live? What do they see Jesus do? When do they see Jesus do these things? Where do these events occur? What do they learn about the crowds who seek Him out? How do they see the scribes and Pharisees react to Jesus? Don’t speculate, but answer the questions from the text. Are there other who, what, where, when, why, and how questions you can answer as you read?
There’s another question you can ask and answer as you read: wherefore? Wherefore is a word that is seldom used today, and although it’s similar to why, it can go beyond asking about motive or reason, and on to having you think about the consequences: “For which cause or reason; in consequence of which; consequently.” Charles Lee explains:
“…in the phrase “why and wherefore” — here the ‘wherefore’ has the alternative meaning of as a result of which.
“So “why and wherefore” in modernspeak would be “for what reason and what was the result of it.””
In the context of Bible study, Howard Hendricks defines wherefore as:
“I like to paraphrase this question, So what? What difference would it make if I apply this truth?
“Wherefore? is the question that gets us started doing something about what we’ve read. Remember the Word of God was not given to satisfy our curiosity; it was written to change our lives. So with any passage of Scripture, we need to ask, So what?”1
Here’s an example of Hendricks asking these questions about a verse in Ephesians:
“In Ephesians 2:10, Paul writes, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
“If we submit this verse to the observational questions of who, what, where, when, why, and wherefore, we discover: who we are (God’s “workmanship”); where we come from (“created in Christ Jesus”); why we are (“for good works”); when we were made (“which God prepared beforehand”); and wherefore we should live, that is, what difference all of this makes (“that we should walk in them,” that is, “walk” in the “good work”). Clearly, this verse is telling us something very essential about who we are as people.”2
These are all questions designed to help you carefully learn what God says in His Word. They will help you not read your own thinking into God’s Word, but open your eyes to what God has said.
At the end of Luke 6, Jesus explains the crucial why and wherefore of His Word:
Two years ago I bought David Powlison’s excellent book, God’s Grace In Your Suffering. He goes through the hymn, “How Firm A Foundation,” and carefully looks at the many helpful Bible passages in it to comfort and encourage us when we are suffering.
The first stanza says:
How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent Word!
What more can he say than to you he has said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
The New Testament encourages and exhorts us continually to stand firm. It’s easy to stand firm in your faith when everything is calm, but when the storms come? In 2011 I felt as if life was crashing against me with the force of a hurricane. In August of that year I wrote, Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 35: House On The Rock, on what God’s Word meant to me that year.
Those storms still come to me and they come to you. I have to continually remind myself, and I urge you, build the foundation of your life on His Word. Jesus reassures us that though reality may rip and roar, the solid ground of the Rock will hold.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications. (Site has been deleted since posting).
The Calling of St. Peter and St. Andrew: Pietro da Cortona. Public domain.
Waves crashing over The North Pier, Tynemouth: FreeFoto.com (Site has been deleted).
1Howard Hendricks and William Hendricks, Living By The Book (Moody Press, Chicago: 1991) 95.
2Howard Hendricks and William Hendricks, Living By The Book, Second edition (Moody Publishers, Chicago: 1991, 2007) 308.
*In 2011 I started a year-long series of posts, “Read the Bible in 2011.” You can find the other posts in the navigation menu in the header. If a day doesn’t have a link to a post, the post was simply a brief reminder about the reading. I’m filling in some of those gaps with new posts with “Read the Bible in 2011 Redux” as a category.
Copyright ©2011–2021 Iwana Carpenter