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December 8, 2020

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 8 December 2020

What is your favorite symphony? Typical lists of the absolute best symphonies include history’s greatest classical composers, such as Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Mozart, and Sibelius. The Guardian reported that the world’s greatest conductors voted Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (Sinfonia Eroica, “Heroic Symphony”) as the greatest symphony of all time. The “Heroic Symphony” was dedicated to Napoleon and celebrates the various revolutionary movements that occurred in many parts of Europe and the Americas.

Second on the list was Beethoven again, with his Ninth Symphony (“the Choral”). Mozart’s longest and final symphony that he composed, Symphony No. 41 (the “Jupiter Symphony”), was number three. Gustav Mahler occupied the next two slots with his Ninth Symphony and Second Symphony (the “Resurrection Symphony”) respectively. What is surprising is that Beethoven’s best known compositions in classical music, and one of the most frequently played symphonies, the Fifth Symphony, was absent from the top 10, being ranked in 11th place. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is easily recognized by its distinctive four-note “short-short-short-long” motif: duh-duh-duh-duuuh.

Could you hum or whistle the first movement with its four-note motif? While it is impossible (even ridiculous) to convey the profound effect and magnificence of Beethoven through a simple hum or whistle, it is nevertheless amazing how the human mind can translate the various instruments into a recognizable form by someone who is familiar with the work.

How does this relate to the study of the Bible? Consider how ridiculous it is to communicate the eternal truths of Scripture, which is God’s holy and inspired Word to humanity. Attempting to communicate God’s Word to anyone would be hopeless, except for one important person: the Holy Spirit, who indwells the believer, and teaches through him or her. He also indwells those who are listening to the teaching of the Bible (or brings conviction to the person who has not have believed the truth of the gospel message). 

Individuals whom the Holy Spirit enlightens welcome God’s truth (1 Cor 2:10-11). The means by which God provides the knowledge of his thoughts is by the Holy Spirit, who is the only one who completely understands the mind of God. The thoughts of God would be impossible to know without the working of the Holy Spirit for it was his task to supervise the writing of the Scriptures.

The Bible is a record of the thoughts of God, and those who study it are able to know all the things that God has “freely given” (2:12). The Holy Spirit can transform someone’s meager whistling melodies into the symphony of God’s revelation, which others can understand. Acts 2 presents an assembly of believers who knew the truths concerning Jesus yet they lacked the power to proclaim those realities to their city and the world. They waited patiently for the Holy Spirit to make their witness possible by creating not just a peculiar sounding note or two but a symphony in them. The result was the Lord “adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).

Your Missionary-Pastor to Our Leaders,

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Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia

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