The Cliffs Notes

When I was in high school I did not particularly enjoy reading.  Of course there were many books assigned for us to read and on which we were to write reports.  I can still remember several assignments such as The House of Seven Gables, the Scarlett Letter, Animal Farm, Where the Red Fern Grows, Jane Eyre, etc.

I would usually try to find the Cliffs Notes version of the book to avoid reading the entire book.  We would be asked to write a book report and that could usually be done from the abbreviated reading.  If given a test on the book, the wise teacher would choose questions that were not in the “notes” version.

That is funny, because now later in life I enjoy reading and spend much of my time reading and writing.  Though I enjoy reading from many sources, I spend a great deal of time reading the Bible.

Consider this thought.  Suppose you were asked to write a brief book report on the Bible.  I think I could do that.  In fact, if one wanted to really be brief, the Bible message could be summarized in one sentence.  The Bible’s message is the salvation of man by GOD through Christ as revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Christ was once faced with a similar summation request when He was asked to reduce the entire Law of Moses to one statement.  A lawyer asked Jesus to name the greatest command of the Old Law.  The Old Law contained a total of 613 laws.  There were 248 positive laws and 365 laws of a negative nature.  So asking Jesus to choose one of 613 was meant to be a challenge and was really an attempt to trap Him.  Matthew 22 contains other such attempts from the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  What was the greatest of all the commands according to Jesus?  His perfect answer was simply, the greatest law was to love GOD and love one’s neighbor.

Here we have the Old Testament summarized in one statement and at the heart of that statement is one idea.

Love.

Let’s carry the idea a step further.  Suppose you were asked to summarize the entire Bible in one word.  What if you were asked to summarize the entirety of Scripture with just one word?  What word would you choose?  Hint: Jesus’ answer above might be a good place to start.

Think about this. There are over 750,000 words in the Bible.  If one were to type 60 words a minute, it would take 217 hours to finish it.  Think of it this way, working 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would take almost a month of typing.  That is a lot of words.

So choose one word that would summarize the Bible.  Actually there is a verse that does this or at least summarizes the Old Law with one word.

Galatians 5:14 – For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love.

1 Corinthians 13 – And now abides faith, hope, love, but the greatest of these is love.

When listing the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, the first one mentioned is love.

1 John 4:8 – He who does not love does not know GOD, for GOD is love.

Love.

In some versions of the Bible the word love appears more than 500 times.  Even though 1st John is a relatively small book, the word love appears more times in this book than any other book of the New Testament (24 times).  The book having the second most occurrences of the word love is the gospel of John with 20 references.  John wrote much about love and this is why we often refer to him as the Apostle of love.

Love.

Webster defines love as an unselfish concern for the good of another.

If we wish to be acceptable to GOD, we must love.  I want to be acceptable to GOD.  How about you?

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