Wow. Was I wrong.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years trying to build up my arguments by adding Bible verses to them. Maybe I lost confidence in the Bible as an interesting book in itself, and thought I had to spice it up or something. Little did I realize, that is the worst way to interpret the Bible.
I’m coming back to the realization that the Bible is absolutely captivating when you just let it explain itself. Let’s use Matthew 24:14 as an example. In this example, you’ll see, I couldn’t even get through the first six words (not even a full thought!), because they have so much depth.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” -Matthew 24:14
Starting at the beginning, I thought, what is “this gospel”? Obviously, by reading three more words, I understood it to be the gospel of the “kingdom”. But what does that mean? What is this gospel of the kingdom?
The word “this” made me want to look at the verses leading up to verse 14. They are about the things that will happen before the end comes. Verses 12 and 13 lead up to 14 with these words:
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” -Matthew 24:12,13
Good news and salvation seem related, but what is the lesson to take from these verses? What does this salvation entail?
It entails standing firm in love, instead of letting it grow cold, no matter how much wickedness is around. The King James Version uses the word “endure” in place of standing firm. So this gospel has something to do with being saved by enduring love.
Going on to “the kingdom” in verse 14, I looked back through Matthew a little bit, to learn more about the kingdom. In chapter 21 verse 31 and 32, it seems that people enter the kingdom by seeing and believing “the way of righteousness”.
So, I still haven’t started studying, for the purposes of this text, what the kingdom actually is. But if I connect the kingdom with salvation, I’ve already discovered something: enduring love and the way of righteousness are the conduits to the kingdom. And these two concepts take me deeper in this verse than I first imagined I would go; enduring love, and the way, are the conduits to the kingdom. Enduring love, and the way.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever… Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love.” -Psalm 107:1
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” -John 14:6
Enduring love, and the way, are the conduits to the kingdom.
And I wasn’t even trying to come up something.