Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stay there. You are surrounded.

Once you know how good God is, you want His presence in your life more than anything. And there are loads of verses in the Bible that promise that God is "in" those who follow Jesus and that He is always "with" us. But I came across a word that tells me that He's also got us surrounded!

There's a word in Titus 2:14 that's translated "peculiar" in the King James Version: "who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people" (Greek: periousios). We might think at first glance that that means we must be a bit strange or unusual or odd (and perhaps some of us are). But modern translations don't mention that. The NASB translates the same word as "a people for His own possession" and the NIV translates it as "a people that are his very own". That's because the word periousios is derived from two other words that mean "around" (as in, a circle), and "to be." As Kenneth Wuest points out in his wonderful book, Golden Nuggets from his Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, this word can be visualized as a dot within a circle.

We are the dot, Jesus is the circle, and Jesus has encircled us. We are completely surrounded by an infinitely loving and all-powerful God, because we are much more than simply a dot to Him! That's why the NASB and NIV choose to translate Titus 2:14 as they do: God has His people all to Himself just as "the circle monopolizes the dot" (Wuest). God brings us in close, surrounds us and protects us, and only allows anything outside that circle to come in if it's His will for it to do so. And then He keeps us surrounded to help us to deal with the tests or trials He allows in. 

That's right. So stay there. He's got you surrounded.

© 2014 by Ken Peters