Every once in a while, I encounter a spiritually impacting paragraph while grading a term paper. Granted, this doesn’t happen often, but I really love it when it does! Such occurred earlier this semester while reading a paper submitted by Parker[1] in my Principles of Interpretation class. I share the following excerpt with his permission.

One of my biggest inspirations of someone who values the Word of God is my great grandmother Captola, who just passed away a few weeks ago on Christmas day. She didn’t have a high school education, but valued the Word above all things in her life. She carefully read the Scriptures constantly and would repeat verses to herself over and over. As the matriarch of a sprawling family, she longed that her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren were reading and valuing Scripture in their personal lives. On her deathbed she asked me if I had been reading my Bible. When I think about Scripture being clear and accessible, despite having difficult passages, I think about the way my grandma Captola approached Scripture. She wasn’t educated, she read slowly, and lived a simple life — and I’m sure she had questions about certain passages. But that didn’t impede her from applying Scripture and living a Godly life.

One of the reasons I love this paragraph, apart from the inspiring example of a matriarch who deeply loved God’s Word, is how it illustrates the truth that the central ideas of Scripture are accessible to everyone, whether or not they have had the opportunity to study biblical backgrounds, take courses in systematic theology, or learn Hebrew and Greek. (Theologians have labeled the idea that the Bible is clear the “perspicuity of Scripture.”) Acknowledging Scripture’s clarity in no way diminishes the value of serious study — even advanced study. But it reminds us that God has made available the central truths that he wanted communicated, no matter how much formal education in the Bible one might have.[2]

This paragraph also challenges us to keep reading the Bible — doing the same thing Grandma Captola did. As Parker wrote: she would repeat verses to herself over and over. Let us read carefully, with awareness, and repeat what we read over and over to ourselves.

I hope and pray that when I come to the end of my life, I will still love the Word of God the way Grandma Captola did. And I hope, and earnestly pray, that like her great grandson Parker, the same will be true for my children, their children and their children’s children.


[1] Last name withheld at his request.

[2] Read more on the clarity of Scripture in chapter 2 of my book Bible Revival: Recommitting Ourselves to One Book, pp. 36-39.

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