This post is a continuation of a previous one. Here, I selected five small, yet potent words we often see when reading the New Testament. We now conclude with explanations about five more words with a view to enhancing our Bible reading.
Therefore – This word functions like a hinge. It connects what came before with what follows. It introduces a result. When you read it, slow down and ponder what you just read so you can rightly understand what you are about to read. You might imagine this little guy, with arms outreached in two directions, holding together the book of Ephesians. The first three chapters of doctrine connect to the last three chapters of application. How do they connect to one another? With a word – “therefore” (4:1).
If (then) – In many cases, this word introduces a condition. When it does, most times you will not see an accompanying word “then.” (You can supply it and it will make sense—see the example below). As you encounter this word, ask yourself “Is there a condition for me to fulfill and if so, how?”
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, then (supplied) he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24)
Through – This word is a preposition, pointing to some relationship between concepts. As a redeemed people of God, we know our access to Him did not happen by our own merit. We go “through” Christ. For this reason, throughout the New Testament, truths of our redemption often points to Jesus: “through … Him/Jesus Christ our Lord/the body of Christ. We also find many positive truths following the word “through” (in the Epistles in particular): “through … faith/redemption/righteousness/the Holy Spirit/grace/the gospel/His power.” Praise God He gives us Jesus … “through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father!” (Ephesians 2:18)
Now – “Now” connects closely related thoughts or storylines. Mark may be recording a story in the life of Jesus; an epistle author might be penning his thoughts. So while the story or letter continues, “now” signals a shift. You should notice the change as your reading along in your Bible. See what Paul does in First Corinthians:
- “Now concerning the things about which you wrote …” (7:1)
- “Now concerning the things sacrificed to idols …” (8:1)
- “Now concerning spiritual gifts …” (12:1)
Behold – If a red sign with flashing lights appeared in our New Testaments, it would be assigned to this word. “Behold” is meant to grab our attention. It’s like placing an exclamation mark within the sentence. Almost half of its appearances are in the Gospels and Revelation combined (think of the events taking place there). Matthew records the incredible events of the baptism of Jesus, calling us to “Behold!” the involvement of the Trinity.
After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:16–17)
You can read and understand your Bible. Keep reading … keep observing. With the affection of Christ, Pastor Michael