Luke 6:46-49: A Firm Foundation

Read: Luke 6:46-49

Jesus closes the discourse in Luke with another parable, this one describing two builders who build houses. One builds it on a rock and the house stands when the storm comes and the other on sand which collapses when the storm comes. The interpretation of this parable is pretty obvious, and Jesus gives it, saying that the one who listen and does the things that Jesus says will be like the man who builds his house on the rock. The foundation of a house is one of the most critical components of the house because on it rests the entire structure, and when the foundation is weak the house will fall flat. Jesus is saying that his words and instructions are the foundation of ones life, and the rest of one’s life is supported by these teachings.

If Jesus’ teachings are to be the foundation of ones life, then it necessary to first understand the teachings and second aptly apply the teachings of Jesus to ones life. The teachings of Jesus are codified in the pages of scripture, so if one wants to understand what Jesus said one needs to study the word of God. This is why Paul admonishes Timothy to use scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that scripture is “God-breathed” and useful for instruction in the ways of righteousness. Jesus being God, worked through human writers produce the 66 books of the Bible, some of which contains the actual words of Jesus himself. Paul acknowledges the work of the prophets, a reference to the Old Testament and apostles which is a reference to what would become the New Testament, but all of this is built on Jesus who is the “cornerstone” of the building (Ephesians 2:19-22).

The process of studying and applying scripture is called “exegesis”, which is multi-part process. First, one attempts to understand what a text meant in the original context by studying the original language of the text, the literary features of the text, and also the historical and cultural settings of the text. These offer key insights into the next step, which is interpreting the text. Interpretation isn’t so much about finding hidden meanings, rather looking for what the text is trying to communicate in terms of instructions and principles. Lastly, one looks for application of the principles of the text, which is practical application of the text in one’s life and how one obeys the commands of Jesus.

Because the teachings and application of scriptures is is so important requires great care. This is why Peter warned against interpreting scripture in a vacuum (2 Peter 1:19-21). Rather, teachers are to be taught and to also teach what they have learned faithfully (2 Timothy 2:2). Holding fast to sound doctrine and sound teaching will give all who understand the knowledge necessary, and with the Holy Spirit’s help, one can aptly apply the scripture to ones life so that when the storms come one stands firm rather than falling flat.

Lord, your word is a firm foundation. Help me build my life on it!

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