Thursday, 30 April 2015
For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:9
Here Paul explains the reason why he wanted to stay in Ephesus until Pentecost. It is because a “great and effective door has opened to me.” The metaphor of a door is common in the New Testament and is even seen in the old, often translated as “gate.” Jesus said in John 10 that He is the Door (or gate, depending on translator’s choice of word). In Revelation 4:1, John saw a door (same word as used in John 10) open in heaven at which time he was taken up through it in order to see his vision of the future.
Jesus speaks of an open door in Revelation 3:8, and that He is knocking at the door waiting for it to be opened in Revelation 3:20. Each of these uses carries a spiritual connotation and Paul uses it is this manner as well. A few other examples of his use of the word are:
“Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27
“Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord…” 2 Corinthians 2:12
“…meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains….” Colossians 4:3
He uses the word in a consistent manner. Opportunities for spreading the gospel are considered a “door” of opportunity. There is a narrow opening which leads to a large space on the other side. And the only way to get to that large space is to go through the door. The symbolism is elegant. If the door isn’t used, then what lies beyond it remains unchanged.
But Paul continues with his thought in saying, “and there are many adversaries.” In his travels, there was always the constant challenge of those who would work against the message he proclaimed. While he was attempting to open the doors around him, there were those who sought to keep the door closed. If they could, they would nail it shut in order to keep him and his message out forever. Despite their efforts, Paul was adamant that he should continue to press forward in order to bring light to those who so desperately needed it.
Life application: In the Bible, words which seem to simply be a part of a thought and without any further import can actually have great significance. Never stop to contemplate individual words and what the spiritual meaning behind them is. There is great treasure to be found in word studies because God uses tangible items to teach us spiritual and moral lessons.
Heavenly Father, as I read and study Your word, one thought keeps coming into my mind – “There is wisdom here.” The more I pry into its depths, the more I realize how wondrous it is. Forgive me for not spending more effort in the study of Your word. From today on, I ask for a heart which burns to know it more and more. It is what tells me of Jesus and He is the One who reveals You to me. Thank You for Your superior word! Open my eyes to its majesty! Amen.