NLT Eph 2:19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
ESV Eph 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[sojourners] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[IN] the Spirit.
Those [footnote] brackets have become a valuable alert in Scripture which hold gifts designed to broaden our faith. The carefully thought out phrases or words within those brackets are so much more than the work of dedicated translators. Footnotes matter because they are one way God uses to reveal the fullness of His truth through the many translations of His Word. They challenge us to consider even a simple two-letter preposition like “IN” as a breath of fresh air that opens the eyes, the mind and the heart to greater understanding. [IN] is a footnote of fulllness that reveals God’s heart for our personal growth.
NLT: “you…being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.” Those are familiar and true words with the blessing of Good News that we are the dwelling place where “God lives by His Spirit.”
ESV: “you…being built together into a dwelling place for God by[IN] the Spirit.” There’s the same familiarity of truth and blessing but with the Good News broadened by the emphasis of a simple [IN]. God ‘lives by His Spirit” throughout all time because “we are carefully joined together in” Christ as “saints and members of the household of God” to enable us to live “for God [IN] the Spirit.”
Hebrews 6:1 So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. 2 You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.
A very important concept of faith every believer has to learn is renewal is not repetition. Surely that’s the beginning of a whole new direction that leads us to “become mature in our understanding.” Maturity and understanding have their ups and downs but God has a plan for that. He’s built that plan into us with this expectation: redemption through Jesus has made possible a consistent sense of direction through the moral compass of the Holy Spirit.
Welcome to my spiritual science lesson. A compass has a small magnetic pin suspended inside it’s casing so that it’s free to move and respond to true north. In between that magnetic pin and true north lies a magnetic field that is impacted by local disturbances. Those dips and undulations can affect the compass needle’s ability to point to true north. Users of a navigational compass have charts that help them recalibrate their compass as needed to compensate for those variations in the magnetic field and keep them heading in the desired direction. Does this sound at all familiar to you?
God is true north. The Holy Spirit is the small magnetic pin. We are the casing. Faith is our compass. The inconsistent magnetic field is our world. The local disturbances are the up and down experiences of life. God’s Word is the chart that recalibrates those up and down experiences as needed to keep us heading in the desired direction. “And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.”
Psalm 119:97-104 מ Mem – Waves, Water
97 Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
I wondered whether the Psalmist was in his personal Red Sea period when I saw he’d chosen the title Mem [Waves, Water]. His life has been like the Israelites as they came up against that barrier of water that seemed like sure destruction with nowhere to go. He’s personally experienced God opening up a path for him like the parting of those waters to where he is now. This is his response. It reads like a man who’s survived the journey through the sea bed and made it to this lofty place of confidence on the mountain top.
I’m resisting “peeking” ahead to see how his own bottom line of faith, “for you yourself have taught me,” continues to change the focus of his wisdom, insight and understanding.