Well, maybe Professor Pencil doesn’t reveal all, but he reveals a lot! Professor Pencil is the teacher I hold in my hand who, if I will take just a few minutes to listen to him, can teach me many things. You see, if we take a few minutes to look at a text and mark it up a bit, the lesson begins. For example, see the picture below. In it, I printed out the creed Joel Osteen opens every service with and also a passage from Ezekiel where our Lord discusses how the New Covenant will work. As all true believers today will be saved through the New Covenant, this is important stuff! The Osteen creed and the Bible passage have nothing to do with each other, I’m simply using them to illustrate how a few minutes with a pencil can teach us some things. Take a look:
What I did here was to underline who does the action and what actions are being done to get an idea of the focus of these texts. What I came away with from the Osteen text was that despite holding a Bible in the air while reciting it, the creed is actually an attempt to self-focus. It’s all about the one voicing it and what they think and do. What I came away with on the Ezekiel passage will probably sound a bit foreign to many folks today. Looking back at the who’s and what’s of salvation I can see that our Lord does all the action here. This sounds odd in light of all the preaching out there that’s focused on what we must do. Sure there’s stuff we need to do in our Christian walk, we know that from other passages, but when discussing salvation we see here God doing all the work. If this causes friction with your theology, you might want to take some time to think this over!
The idea of “Professor Pencil” may be a bit silly, but I am simply trying to show how important it is for us to slow down and think about what is being said in a particular passage, speech or book. Marking things up a bit (printing it out instead of using the Bible itself is a good way to do it) can help us focus on what’s really being said. Try it on other passages or creeds to see what happens! The biblical account of David and Goliath is a good one, the focus probably isn’t what you think! Another good one is our model prayer or “Lord’s prayer” as some call it. There you will see the focus change halfway through, and the change is meant to show who’s will is the priority. Look for the people, places and actions in a passages. Look for repeated words also, they often point us in the right direction.
I hope you give Professor Pencil a try. Yeah, it’s a silly name, but he’s an incredibly good teacher. Give it a go!