Faith

Faith Walk: Reading the Bible and having a ‘When did they put that in there?’ moment

By SUZANNE CONAWAY

Special to The Star

Suzanne Conaway of Kansas City
Suzanne Conaway of Kansas City The Kansas City Star

I’ve read the Bible cover to cover at least four times. And I’ve probably read it several more times with different passages that I’m studying. But I’m always finding things I’d never noticed before.

A few years back we did a Bible study at church, and my fellow students were quite amused at my frequent cries of, “When did they put that in?”

One of my favorite surprises was the story of Ehud (Judges 3:12-30). Ehud was left-handed and killed the king of Moab by smuggling in a sword strapped to his right side — the side a lefty would draw from. But the king’s guards didn’t check his right side. They expected swords to be on the left side, where a right-handed person would draw.

I’m a southpaw, too, and proud of it.

I couldn’t believe that I didn’t catch the story of Ehud the first two times I read Judges. When did they put that in?

I’ve loved the book of Ruth since I was a child. Ruth was one of my heroes (along with Dale Evans and Annie Oakley). I thought she was wonderful.

But I’d never given much thought to Naomi. Guess I didn’t notice her much. Wonder when they put her in? However, since I’ve become a mother-in-law, I’ve noticed and become more and more impressed by Naomi.

How many mothers-in-law are so wonderful that both widowed daughters-in-law want to stay with them rather than go back to their own people? I mean, mother-in-law jokes don’t come about because mothers-in-law are so great.

But Naomi became more than a mother-in-law to Ruth. She was also a friend and protector. Ruth said the famous “Wither thou goest, I will go,” which is used so often at weddings, not to her husband, but to her mother-in-law. Maybe we should have the mothers-in-law come to the altar when the preacher uses those words!

Naomi is my new heroine. I just hope I can be as wonderful to my five children-in-law as she was to Ruth.

I’ve discovered many other things reading the Bible. I don’t know how many times I’d read the passage where Paul, in Romans 12:8, considered being an encourager a calling and a way to serve God before it sunk in.

But I liked it. I can be an encourager! But when did they put that in? It must have been on my third reading or after, since I’d used a Bible highlighter pencil on it, and I didn’t have that the first few times I’d read the Bible through.

And the realization that the Samaritan woman at the well was the first one to publicly preach that Jesus was the Christ? I’d heard that story all my life before that insight hit me.

I don’t know when they put such wonderful things in the Bible for me to find, but I’m certainly glad they did!

Suzanne Conaway is the second of a new line of Faith Walk writers for The Star. She can be reached at faith@kcstar.com.

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