I was tutored in Greek back in 2001. I walked into Dr. Randolph's humble home and sat down next to him at his computer. He set the font size at 300%. It was huge. His eyes were ailing, but his brain was sharp as a razor.
Before we began our session he said, "Tim, do you know why we study the Greek language?"
"No," I said.
"We study the Greek because we love the Word."
I didn't reply. I just listened.
"We study language because we love the Word of God," he repeated.
I nodded, giving him my ascent, and we began our session. We only met for a few sessions, and then I was off to the next thing. But when I nodded, I lied. I didn't love the Word of God, and I knew it. I knew it as soon as he made the statement. I wanted to know for knowing's sake. How embarrassing.
Dr. Randolph passed away years ago. So many people grieved his death. He lived his life in love with the Word of God. This no one would dispute. I knew him before our session. But having personal interaction with him made his passing so much harder; especially since I came to him for "learning" when he wanted to fuel my passion for the Word.
I will never forget his statement.
Say what you want about he History Channel's rendition of The Bible. I will tell you this. As I watched I choked back tears almost the whole time. My wife noticed. She asked, "Why are you crying?"
All I could think about were Dr. Randolph's words: "We study Greek because we love the Word of God. Do you love the Word of God, Tim?"
As I stared at the screen watching Abraham tie up Isaac, preparing to gut him for the sacrifice, my eyes filled up. And when my wife asked me why I was crying I could finally answer Dr. Randolph's question truthfully:
"Because, I love The Word," I said to her.She did not reply. We both kept watching.
John The Beloved wrote, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." When I replay Dr Randolph's question to me I hear this: "Tim, do you love the Christ, the Son of the living God?"
And then, I hear my response: "No, Dr. Randolph. I do not. I only want to know in order to fulfill my pride, to fulfill an obligation, to look smart around others."
Time has ticked on since then. And now I read the popular blogs and articles and commentary and cultural hoo-ha and I wonder who among us loves the Word.
Do you love the Word? Is it living and breathing in your brain right now? Or do you crack your Bible only to know or for selfish comfort? The Word, the logos, shines as our north star in this life. But it's difficult to follow something we don't love. Do you love the Word of God? Do you love, the Christ?
May this be our daily prayer: I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:15,16)
Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.