I believe that in some ways studying and gaining truth from the scriptures is like a child listening to the voice of a parent. While the messages and values the parent imparts may not change, what the child receives is very different as an infant, versus a toddler, etc. through to adulthood. What the child receives is also very different depending upon the mood and behavior of the child at any particular time. There are many factors involved.
In the case of scriptures as the word of God, God is unchangeable and perfect, but His words have often been received, recorded, and translated in ways that are less than perfect. In addition, as we read them at various times and in various conditions in our lives we may learn different lessons. This reality is actually a great blessing. For one thing it can afford us the blessing of continually searching, and receiving knowledge from God gradually as we are able to bear it, and as we exercise the faith to receive it. 2 Peter 1:5-8 describes a pattern of progression that includes increase in knowledge that is insightful:
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the Greek the knowledge referenced in verse eight is different from the knowledge referenced in verses five and six; in verse eight the Greek word is a longer word meaning precise, correct, full, thorough knowledge. This knowledge is experiential knowledge of God’s character and being, and in its full sense is also at the core of what John 17:3 communicates:
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
To come to this thorough, correct knowledge of God is the greatest blessing a person can receive, dwarfing in one sense or encompassing in another sense all other blessings. It involves a process of becoming like Christ through His grace and through our faith in walking a path back into His presence. And again, an essential part of this process is studying the word of God in a way that leads to revelation—to seek learning, even by study and also by faith. Doctrine and Covenants 88:118
One of the blessings I have discovered in my study of Biblical Hebrew lies in its difficulty for me. I can struggle with a verse for days, and in the process the word of God occupies my mind, leading to revelation. Again, however, what I end up with after this process may be only one way of looking at the particular principles involved, hopefully with much additional insight to come in the future.
With these thoughts as preparation I have been thinking a lot about Job 13:15, which reads as follows:
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
I plan to write more about this verse next week; for now I will end with three questions:
First, what other insights are possible considering the fact that the Hebrew word translated in this verse as maintain is only translated this way one time in 59 in the Old Testament (and only in some translations) with the word also meaning to prove, decide, judge, rebuke, reprove, correct, be right, be in the sunshine, be clear, manifest, appear?
Second, how can this verse be viewed in terms of Job being a type of Christ?
Third, how can this verse be viewed in terms of the ancient temple pattern with the sacrifice providing a turning point to turn away from sin and on a path toward God?