936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
It wasn’t like me to fail a class. At eighteen years old and the second youngest student at my college, I took the opportunity to attend Bible school seriously and planned to graduate. Yet here I was smitten with and distracted by a boy and, alongside him, failing Greek.
Three years later, after a hiatus due to lack of tuition funds, I returned to that school with a baby in tow. I’d drop my son off in the downstairs nursery and make my way to class. I graduated at twenty-one with my son on my hip and my hand in my husband’s — that same boy I failed Greek class next to.
A few years after, while unpacking belongings left to me after my grandmother passed, I found her Greek dictionaries with notes strewn throughout. Even after failing the class, I’d never left my intrigue behind, and holding my grandmother’s study notes reignited that fire. While I’ve struggled to read, write, or understand the language, it hasn’t held me back from unpacking the intent of God’s Word. I learned that we don’t have to speak Greek to get a handle on the Bible. Instead, we can use resources to guide us to a deeper understanding of its original intent. In this way, we can teach our children the importance of being someone who is “accurately handling the word of truth,” as we read in 2 Timothy 2:15.
I recently learned the Greek word for reeds that stand next to a swamp, swaying with the wind. “Swamp Dwellers” their name implies. I’ll never see the edge of a swamp the same. Tracing something back to its original name or description provides a more robust understanding and a more intimate connection. I’ve found this true with God’s Word.
I can read in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness,” but how much more powerful this statement is when I trace the word “grace” back to its roots and find this: “The divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.”
Isaiah 43:1 assures us, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” This assurance seeps and soaks more thoroughly into the recesses of our soul as we break down these words. “Redeemed” means “purchased,” “delivered,” “avenged,” and “ransomed.” In “Called,” we find “proclaimed,” “invited,” and “named.”
With these definitions, I can understand that God has delivered me from what I was, invited me to be new in Him, and named me His.
Every parent is familiar with the game of thesaurus we play as our children grow up. Staring back at us with puzzled expressions at a new and unfamiliar word, we reach for other words tucked into the crevices of our minds to communicate a point. If one word doesn’t work, we try on other synonyms until our child’s brows unfurrow, they crack a smile, and we know they’ve understood. We can do this too with God’s Word. As we seek to teach the truth of Scripture to our children, we can trace keywords back until we arrive at a deeper understanding.
Long before I met that boy and we failed Greek class, back when I was packing bags at seventeen to move to Bible school, my father handed me a Strong’s study bible. In it, I discovered a dictionary and a key: Greek and Hebrew words underlined and further described in the back of the Bible. I still use that Bible today. It guided me through Bible school, marriage, and motherhood. Whether I’m writing books, articles, or other pieces for publication, it lays open beside me. Recently Zondervan gifted me with a Verse Mapping Bible that further simplifies the process.
If you’re looking for a starting point and guide to map out Scripture and arrive at a deeper understanding, the Verse Mapping Bible is a great resource. I will preface, I prefer to study the Bible with a more accurate NASB or ESV translation that is closer to the original language. However, the NIV Verse Mapping Bible is a wonderful guide for daily reading. Taking a closer look at key verses, the Verse Mapping Bible provides the Greek or Hebrew root words and definitions. It also shares the same verse in several translations for comparison, and space for journaling along with wide margins for notetaking. Using it alongside my NASB Strong’s Study Bible, I’m mapping out verses, digging down to their roots, and discovering more and more the original intent of God’s heart behind what’s in His Word.
We may have failed Greek together — but, also together, my husband and I walked away from Bible school with an intense desire to train our children to rightly investigate, understand, and use God’s Word. A decade after graduating Bible school, I now get to teach that baby who sat on my hip and played with my graduation cap tassel how to dig into God’s Word. I may not be able to recite anything to him in Greek — although I can still decently pronounce “egg” — but I can equip him with tools, and more importantly model to him the importance of always pursuing a right understanding of Scripture.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!