I am not one much for what might be called “proof texting,” by which I mean trying to come up with a Bible verse, or even passage (though a passage is much better) to prove a point. Although one sentence can surely say a lot. Context is so important in good Bible reading and study, and most certainly includes the tradition of the church as in how the Holy Spirit has helped the church in seeing the truth of the gospel in any given passage, aside from the details which are bound to bring out different perspectives, and aren’t meant necessarily to be pinned down to one sure meaning, as we often do.
And so in trying to think of one passage which might get across what I want to think on now, I can’t come up with one off the top of my head. Instead I would say, go and read the entire Bible. Over time, of course. Maybe a one year reading program would be best. I like the idea of reading it all straight through. Or reading the New Testament twice, for every time one reads the Old Testament. My current plan is a bit haphazzard, except that I keep at it every day. But I’ll spare any reader any further details on that.
What we need is the grace of God, which one might call “unmerited favor,” and which I like to call a gift, sheer gift, and this in and through Jesus. And what we find is that we’re somehow taken up into that same love which characterizes the Trinity, the Love which God is. And also that this love is brought back down to earth in the exhaustion and failure which characterize our humanity down here. But a love which isn’t only present to make us feel better, but to lift our very lives into something much better.
Now what does that look like? Again, begin to turn the pages of a Bible, as you read it. You can read online, I do a bit of that through BibleGateway. My own preference is hard copy, a regular book, and my Bible translation of choice is the New International Version, while the New Revised Standard Version is probably my second preference and good in that it also translates the Apocryphal (called Deuterocanonical) books which are good for edification, even while not binding for teaching or doctrine (and I don’t think I’ve even ever read through those books completetly, though I want to). Another good resource online is the New English Translation, with helpful notes. And actually most any Bible translation is probably just fine, a good number of them on BibleGateway (see link above) itself.
The written word of God and prayer in the communion of the church and through the saving power of God in the gospel is what can help us by faith enter into this love. The love from God by which we live; the love which will carry us through come what may. In and through Jesus.