The word question, at times carries the connotation of a doubt or to be uncertain of. However, if a question is simply something proposed which is to be solved by answer. Let those who have a question sincerely desire an answer rather than casting a doubt. Therefore, as a Christian our uncertainty of a given subject, or a scripture is a pathway to knowledge.
To address every question or uncertainties for a better understanding, is far beyond the human natural approach. However, with the right method set in place, our uncertainty will be made conformable to the answer we seek from above.
The study of interest is the practical use of the scriptures alongside the metaphorical application of the scriptures.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, or (teaching) for reproof, or (conviction) for correction, for instruction in righteousness, or doing that which is right. (2 Timothy 3:16)
All scripture is given by inspiration of God; meaning, it is from God. God-breathed, the breath of the individual is as unique as the fingerprint of the individual. The breath within us surpasses the fingerprint as to the uniqueness of the person, in that it serves far more than a unique pattern for identification. The breath of the individual is unique to the person while reflecting the changes unseen by the natural eyes, within the individual on a daily basis. The thoughts, the feeling, mood and more.
So then, considering the scripture is inspired by God, or God-breathed. Let it be the believers’ utmost desire to understand its meaning rather than conforming it to us. Let us desire that we conform to it that we maybe conform to Him.
The scripture is profitable for teaching; that which is profitable shall bring forth a gain. In this case, a gain or a profit in the life of the believer. The gain or profit is predicated upon the word teaching. (Meaning instructing; informing) if we open the Word of God with a willing heart to be taught by the receiving of instructions, then we shall gain in our growth and understanding, but if the Word of God is use for self-gratification without inspiration, where shall the gain comes from? Consequently, there shall be no profit, nor a gain.
The Scripture is for conviction, for correction. Or, better translated; restoring to an upright state. One that is restored upright is first guilty of fallen, corrupted and misled. Even when we have gone astray, for a multiple of reasons; may we call on to the Lord like King David of old.
“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. (Psalms 119:176)”
May we hear His voice and follow, for He (Christ) said; My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (John 10:27)
The lost of our past, for the lack of better understanding of Scripture, shall be a gain if we are willing to conform to His words. Conform me into Your Words. That You may watch over me more than all.
Let us seek out the practical meaning of the Scripture before its metaphorical application. Lest we symbolize the entirety of the Word of God, rendering it useless to us. There are times, we are willing to learn, but we still do not understand. One might ask; What does a word of phrase mean here, or there, and why are there a lot of metaphors used in the Bible? I am not good at understanding them.
An example can be drawn from the passage of Joel 2:25 … I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
For many readers, the first point of interest in such passage is the phrase; “I will restore.” They claim the blessing and close the book. While they wait for the restoration without understanding the reason for being restored, and the cause for lost or destruction which could serve as a warning. Lest calamity befalls us, like those that are being restored according to the verse mentioned.
The First thing we ought to do when we read the Bible, let us try to understand it from its literal standpoint. The Bible is our book of rules and living, but it is also a book of history. Like none other, it stands as an infallible history, inspired by God. Therefore, if contradictions arise, it is of the reader’s lack of perception. So then, let it be an opportunity to gain a better insight.
For this reason, whenever we read a verse or chapters, may we try to understand the literal meaning of that verse. The verse of Joel 2:25 and the sum of the book of Joel recalls the strike of disaster.
The desolation of the land without warning. It was a time in Israel like none ever. The living green things of the land soon laid bare due to the desolation made by hosts of noxious insects. Disasters in the Scripture are usually the precursor of divine judgment. Through this, the prophet Joel, foresee the invasion of these insects as a harbinger to a further judgment due to sin. (Joel 1:6)
The ruin of the land was used to illustrate the divine Judgments that were about to be inflicted upon the Land. (George William)
The invasion of the locust was devastating, the people have never seen anything like it before (Joel 1:2), but out of the destruction, God gives His promise to His people, to restore the years they have lost. I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.
Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.
The second part of the verse goes into details explaining the stages of the locusts.
Locust means swarm or the swarmer
Palmerworm means to gnaw off
Cankerworm means to lick off
Caterpillar means to devour
These are the stages; they swarm, they gnaw, they lick, and they devour.
Now we have understood the passage from a literal standpoint. We can now apply it to our lives; this is when we use a metaphorical approach. We can say as a believer, all the difficulties we go through, God will restore everything we’ve lost due to the wages of sin, He will restore it to us. Having repented, and turn away by doing that which is right.
Metaphorically, the locust represents sin. We are told in John 10:10… the thief comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
The first stage of sin is overwhelming, the pleasure of sin or the struggle of rejection. Like a locust it swarms and overwhelm. Like a Palmerworm, it gnaws into our mind. Then slowly sin starts to pleasure the sinner; like a Cankerworm, it licks. Lastly sin destroys, like a Caterpillar, it devours.
Yet, the Lord said, He will restore … I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly… For those who believe.