Bible Study in a Morgue?
Scene #1: You are sitting comfortably in someone’s living room enjoying some fellowship before the Bible study begins. After the Bible study, you enjoy some more fellowship around refreshments. It is a cozy home. The hosts are warm and welcoming. Along with all this, the scent of lit candles and potpourri help provide the perfect atmosphere for the study.
Scene #2: The atmosphere is cold and dreary. No potpourri here, or lit candles. You are at the morgue. But nonetheless, it is a Bible study. The text for the study this night is Ephesians 2:1-10. The cadavers are waiting your inspection as part of the study.
Question: Which scene would you want to be a part of?
Your answer to this question will reveal your spiritual condition and/or your spiritual maturity. Most evangelicals would pick the first scenario for their Bible study. After all, who wants to be bothered with a morgue, when you can enjoy the comfort of someone’s home?
But the second scene would be your best bet. Why? As your Bible study teacher, I would have you go to one of the cadavers, not for the sake of identifying or claiming any one of them as is typical in a morgue, but for the sake of seeing how they respond to any stimuli.
These are your Bible study tools for this particular night:
- Tool #1: Your finger. With it, you poke and prod the cadaver. But, no response.
- Tool #2: Your voice. With it, you yell at the corpse. (And if you are a boisterous Greek like myself, that’s a pretty loud noise) And yet, still no response.
- Tool #3: Your fist. With it, you punch the cadaver, a number of times, each time with more force. Result. No Response.
- Tool #4: Your open hand. With it, you slap this person in the face. No response.
- Tool #5: One of the mortician’s tools. With it, you do what you need to, whether stab, cut or slice, just to get some kind of a response. But nothing.
Was it because these were not appropriate Bible study tools? No. It was because the cadaver has no life. It is dead. Therefore, it cannot respond to any stimulus. Just as a corpse is dead with no physical life, the Bible says we are spiritually dead, with no spiritual life, unable to respond to any spiritual stimulus. Total corruption. Total depravity. Human inability.
In writing to the church in Ephesus, the apostle Paul reminds these believers of who they were, namely that they were dead in their transgressions and sins (Eph. 2:1). Let me cut to the chase and do the exegetical work for you. Once you look at the original Greek text, take into account Paul’s authorial intent, and consider the context, the term “dead” means . . . hold on to your seat . . . D E A D! There is no life.