Only the one who senses true love can fathom the real meaning of a love letter.
When a woman receives a letter from a man and senses his unmistakable devotion, respect and self-sacrifice for her welfare, she can hardly wait for the next one. She wants more than to know him but to commit her life to him.
How much more so the person who recognizes in the Bible a personal love letter from God.
To accurately interpret any document, we must understand the context in which it was written and the purpose the writer intended. The Bible comes to us from the context of the holy love and grace of God, perfect in every respect. This God has sacrificed and lavished more on His beloved than is beyond human understanding or possibility. Human love on this earth has a beginning and an end. Divine love for each of us has no beginning and no end.
To read and interpret the Bible in this context is to discover the Bible’s underlying meaning. In this context, even so-called “dead” books of the Bible, such as Leviticus, take on new life.
Just as the beloved sees in a love letter something special written directly to her, so we ought to read and interpret the Bible as a special letter to us. Then the Bible becomes irresistible. We eagerly open its pages and expect it to daily give us our personal, creative and renewing word of God meant for us now.
We will find the Bible is like no other love letter. Human passion, however sincere, possesses no power to perfectly fulfill its promise. The Bible not only expresses passion, but power to change our lives and circumstances. We experience its power to heal, set free, transform, change evil into good, turn ashes into beauty, change the destiny of the universe.
Those outside a love relationship often regard a love letter as little more than “sweet nothings.” In a similar manner, those without God do not see the Bible as personally written to them or anybody else. For them, the Bible is a hodge-podge of ancient and irrelevant stories and religious gibberish.
Even Christians can turn this divine Love Letter into less than what the Author intended. Too often, Christians regard the Bible as an impersonal book of stories, rules and moral standards. Too often, we read the Bible without seeing its application to our personal and present moment. We let details confuse its message. Even right theology can miss the love that shines through each page. This was the sin of the church in Ephesus (see Revelation 2).
The gospel takes deep root only as God’s people daily experience the holy love, grace and righteousness of God found in the Bible. On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “Abide in my love” (John 15:9). From this basic interpretation of the Bible comes everything else.
Millions of people in places like India await a genuine love letter from God. They can hardly fathom that such a letter exists because of sin and evil in their lives and circumstances.
Only as we, the professed recipients of God’s love, live out the spirit and power of God’s Love Letter in our own lives will they believe that letter is also for them. Let us not disappoint them.