Speaking of Life

Home Keys

When you try to understand the Bible, certain basic principles act as a starting point. Once you get those principles right, the rest begins to come clear.

(3.6 minutes)
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Joseph Tkach

Joseph Tkach has been president of Grace Communion International since 1995. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University. For more information about him, click here.

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The ability to type was once a very useful thing to know. Being a good typist opened up many job opportunities. But today, it is not even an option. We depend so much on computers that being able to use a keyboard has become absolutely essential.

I learned to type back in the days before computers and word processing. I sat in front of an old IBM Selectric and laboriously pecked away without being allowed to look at the keyboard until the movements became instinctive.

The important thing is to start by putting your fingers on what are called the “home keys” of the keyboard. These are A, S, D and F on the left side, and J, K, L and semicolon on the right side. If you get that right, with proper training, your fingers will naturally move to the other keys correctly. With perseverance, these movements become instinctive and you will find yourself typing quickly and accurately.

But sometimes, when I was learning to type, I didn’t get my fingers on the right home keys.  When that happened, even though I made all the right moves with my fingers, what I typed was absolute gibberish.

Guess what? That can also happen when you try to understand the Bible. There are certain basic principles that act as starting point. Once you get those principles right, the contents of this big book [hold up the Bible] begin to come clear. But, if you get those biblical “home keys” wrong, your understanding also gets distorted.

This is what happened to some of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Many were deeply sincere and dedicated students of the Scriptures. They wanted to know what they meant, and they wanted to do the right things to please God. But, because they had gotten their fingers on the wrong home keys, so to speak, they ended up rejecting the very One the Scriptures were about.

Jesus explains in John 5:39-40: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, but you refuse to come to me to have life.”

But even Christians can get the Scriptural message all mixed up. Some see the Bible as the key to becoming healthy or wealthy. Some think it’s their tool for predicting the immediate future. Some use it to condemn people they don’t like or as justification of their oppression on others. Some use the Bible to create a soul-strangling religion of rules rather than listening to its proclamation of the good news, grace for lost sinners.

That’s the trouble with getting your fingers on the wrong home keys. You can think you are making progress when all you are doing is producing gibberish. With a keyboard, the home keys are non-negotiable. You must use them if you want to type accurately. As the Second Epistle to Timothy says, the Bible is there to “make us wise about salvation,” and it does that by telling the good news of who Jesus Christ is for us, and who we are in him.

Get that right, and the rest will fall into place. 

I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.

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