A Guide to Interpreting Lists

The Ten Commandments

 

The most popular list in all of the Bible is undoubtedly The Ten Commandments. It is the original Top Ten list. So popular is this list that one might have difficulty recalling the list without picturing Charlton Heston in his theatrical role as Moses. The issue before us is one of interpreting this list.

A Guide to Interpreting Bible Lists

 

Most people use lists. We use them to aid us in grocery shopping, to accomplish our daily tasks, and to work on projects. David Letterman made a name for himself on late night television by including a ten point list during each of his shows.

The Bible also uses lists to recount details, to catalogue bits of information, and to instruct us. Particularly with the instruction type of lists in the Bible, we discover a literary device that is often employed. By understanding this device, our learning and application of listed instructions will certainly be enhanced.

Flee & Pursue

2 Timothy 2 22

Nearing the end of his life, Paul wrote young Timothy. Part of his instructions concerned Timothy’s sanctification or being a vessel for honorable use (2 Timothy 2:21). This sanctification would be realized by two contrasting movements. These movements move the believer away from a prodigal path and turn him down the pilgrim road.

The Idol of Self

1 Thessalonians 1:9

selfModern man often laughs at the folly of people who fashion images of worship that represent some element of the natural world. The images may be of some animal with desirous characteristics or of items related to earth or space. Think trees or stars for the latter category. These images become idols when worshipped.

Grace to Blush

Blush, sinner, blush! Oh, that thou hadst grace to blush!

–John Bunyan

John Bunyan’s exclamation in the 17th century is extremely applicable now in the 21st century. It has been said that we have even forgotten how to blush. We tend to live life in a manner that knows no shame. In fact, we fulfill the Scriptures by glorying in our shame.