There’s a Christian bookstore a couple of miles away from where I live in South London. The lady who runs the store is a little… eccentric (so I feel right at home when I visit 🙃). When I was a new Christian, I went into the bookstore to enquire about Bible versions and see what they had in stock. I discovered that the lady at the bookstore was a huge KJV advocate, but they did have other versions in the store (if I remember correctly). I don’t recall purchasing a Bible on that occasion, although the lady insisted I take some leaflets about praying for the Jewish people.
Anyway, I remember the lady saying to me that every time she reads through the Bible she receives fresh revelation. I am finding the same thing to be true (to a surprising degree) in my own Bible reading. I am seeing things in the text that are just so beautiful that I hadn’t even thought about during previous read-throughs. I feel as though I am understanding the beauty of the Bible in a fresh and powerful way.
Over the weekend, I was reading some of the shorter epistles, and after being deeply moved by 1 and 2 Timothy, I went on to read the opening of Paul’s letter to Titus. My goodness, the opening to that letter is something special! It’s like the most beautiful exposition of the Gospel in a single sentence. A single sentence! I find it to be so powerful.
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began 3and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Saviour;
4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.Titus 1:1-4 (ESV)
This single sentence is so densely packed with different aspects of God’s purposes in creation, and contains so much of the Gospel in just a few words — it’s breathtaking.
I hope reading Paul’s words has been an encouragement to you today. I challenge you to write a better opening to a letter than that!