For most people, the word “recitals” brings thoughts of musical recitals. But as a lawyer, the word “recitals” has an additional meaning to me. The recitals set forth the purposes of the contract. Biblical “recitals” are similar to musical recitals in one key way. They are the capstone of many years of studying the Bible and practicing the way it teaches us to live. Here are my Twelve Recitals for studying perplexing passages in the Bible and facing perplexing problems in life.
What pops into your mind when I say the word “recitals”?
You probably think of music. I think of seniors in college doing their “Senior Recital”. This is the capstone performance of years of study and practice.
But as a lawyer, the word “recitals” has an additional meaning to me. The recitals are the first portion of a contract. They set forth the purposes of the contract.
When I was in law school, I learned that the longer and more complex the contract is, the more important the recitals become. Why?
If a disagreement arises about what a provision means, the recitals help guide the parties—and, if necessary, a judge and jury—to the correct understanding and application of the contract.
The Bible is much longer and more complex than any human contract ever written. Therefore, it is essential to know which “recitals” should guide us when a disagreement arises about what a part of the Bible means.
Such legal “recitals” are similar to musical recitals in one key way. They are the capstone of many years of studying the Bible and practicing the way it teaches us to live.
There are many such recitals in the Bible. Here are some that I find most helpful when studying perplexing passages in the Bible and facing perplexing problems in life—my Twelve Recitals:
God is love. (1 John 4:8,16).
Hear, O Humanity: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
Humans are created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27).
What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8).
Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream. (Amos 5:24).
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Matthew 5:7).
When we go astray, Jesus sacrifices everything to find us and to rescue us. (Luke 15:1-32; 23:26-46).
Jesus came that we may enjoy life to the full. (John 10:10).
In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12).
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23).
There is neither Jew nor non-Jew, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28).
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
If you are struggling to understand perplexing passages in the Bible and to face perplexing problems in life, which “recitals” guide you?
For additional thoughts on how to understand perplexing passages in the Bible and how to face perplexing problems in life, please read the Appendices “How To Apply the Word of God Authoritatively”, “How To Apply the Bible to Specific Matters”, “The Accuracy and Reliability of the Bible”, and “The Spirit in Which To Study and Apply the Bible” in my book The Promised Land, at pages 154-184.