A synopsis is a condensed statement, a summary. I am always intrigued by concise statements which convey their message powerfully and perhaps somewhat cryptically. I thought about this again yesterday, when our neighborhood was visited by a couple of ladies apparently involved in door to door evangelism. I did not actually speak to them but only saw them passing down the street with their Bibles in hand. Apparently they had rung our door bell earlier but because I was out back, I had missed them. Their presence caused me to ponder what I would say to someone who approached me in an attempt to convert me. Should I get off into a long-winded discussion of what I believe and try to impress them with my Bible knowledge? Would such an effort be profitable in any real sense?
As I continued to contemplate how I should handle this hypothetical religious discourse, two powerful verses came to mind: God is Love and Love never fails. They represent a coupling of two, simple declarative statements from the New Testament. These six words say it all for me.
The message of these two sentences involves no knowledge of biblical history. It does not entail an understanding of oft used but generally misunderstood terms like salvation or confusing and seemingly overlapping ones like redemption, restoration, justification, or atonement. It does not rely on one’s ability to interpret correctly parables and anecdotal passages nor to reason and determine logical implications. It is not prophetic, so it involves no hyperbolic and unfamiliar figurative language. Its simplicity makes translational errors unlikely.
There is no question about whether these simple sentences are written to me today. Their significance is obvious and can be seen without seminary training. No creed ever written conveys a more powerful and complete doctrinal statement. These two verses are eternal, omnipotent, and universal. They represent all one would ever need to know about God.
Of course, I don’t suggest that these two ladies would have objected to my placing such emphasis on these two passages. They may have agreed completely. However, I suspect that many folks would object to my biblical synopsis because it doesn’t tell me what to do to please God. That’s absolutely correct. Instead it tells me who God is and what He does. That makes who I am and what I could ever do totally insignificant. Now that’s marvelous and very reassuring. If every door to door evangelist brought that message, we wouldn’t be tempted to hide until they left.