As we read the Bible, we come across patterns. Patterns become recognizable when a reader sees a spiritual truth that is stated in one part of the Bible being repeated in a similar fashion in yet another portion of the Bible.
The very fact that God has said something twice means that He wants us to take careful note of what He has said. This is important when we consider what Joseph said to Pharaoh as he interpreted his dreams:
“The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon” (Genesis 41:32 NIV).
When God gives us the same truth in TWO FORMS we have to take careful note of it. So patterns, by virtue of the same truth being found repeated in two forms at least in two portions in the Bible, demands our careful attention.
Therefore, in this section we try to unveil the grand design of Biblical patterns.
One thing to note is that these patterns are not easily visible. Its presence is felt only after numerous prayerful readings of the entire Bible.
But even then the pattern has to be carefully picked out like a golden thread which has been woven intricately and skillfully into the fabric of the Biblical text. Therefore, from that particular Bible text, only those incidents that form part of the pattern are highlighted in the explanation of examples cited.
Benefits of Study of Patterns
There are at least three ways in which we can benefit from a study of Patterns:
We learn that God has a purpose in all His dealings with us. Some of those dealings follow a definite order which we can learn through Biblical patterns.
We learn that God has truly put His inspirational signature on the Scriptures. An understanding of Biblical patterns should encourage us to study the Bible more and more.
We learn that Biblical patterns can help us understand what is happening in our lives. This may not always be possible. Yet much of our spiritual struggles, failures, growth and victory can be plotted on some Biblical Pattern Maps.
It will help you understand where you stand at that point of time and where you’re headed to. If at all it becomes clear from Biblical patterns that you’re headed the wrong way, with God’s help you can change directions to reach a destination of God’s choice and blessing.
There are different categories of Patterns found in the Bible. See the following sections to read examples of the following types of patterns.
I. Process Patterns
What Are Process Patterns?
These kind of patterns reveal a process. This process has a beginning. Then it moves in a definite order to a definite ending. Therefore each of the patterns that we present are represented by four word sets. The first word or word set denotes the beginning and the last one the end, while the middle two denotes the movement within the pattern.
Therefore, within the patterns there is a movement beginning with the idea represented by the first word or word set through the second and third and ending in the fourth word or word set.
This movement within a pattern is understood through two examples from the Bible. Within each example you will find the process working out in the definite order. Thus the process is complete; the pattern made clear.
Finally, the section Pattern Application tells us how these truths and its movement has direct application in our life.
This can be illustrated using an example. The first pattern that is presented in this section is the Pattern of: Crossroads » Decision » Persistence » Blessing. For example you stand at a crucial turning point of your life. There are easy roads to take. But the path of duty is a difficult one. And you are tempted to take one of the easy paths.
It is then that you come across this Biblical pattern. You learn through it that if you take a decision at this turning point of life to follow the path of duty and persist with it, it will lead to blessing. As you understand this Biblical Pattern you will be encouraged to choose the path of duty and by persistence reach the blessing that God has in store for you.
Process Patterns Index
II. Mirror Patterns
There are certain patterns in the Bible that are unmistakable mirror images of each other. By looking closely at such instances in the Bible, we can learn much about how our lives are impacted by certain powerful spiritual principles.
In some Mirror Patterns you might be able to find a process in operation if you look closely and carefully. Though that is the case, there is a reason why it is included not in Process Patterns but in Mirror Patterns.
That is, in Mirror Patterns it is not the process that is dominant but the theme. So in all Mirror Patterns you’ll find a single dominant theme. We call it a truth-beam because like a sunbeam the theme shines like a beam of truth.
So in all Mirror Patterns you have the truth-beam as the title of the pattern. Then as in Process Patterns you have the definition of the Pattern.
It is followed by two examples which are presented as mirror Reflections of the truth-beam. At the end of each Reflection there is a Zoom In section highlighting how the truth-beam operated in that particular example.
The presentation is concluded with Pattern Application telling you how this truth-beam can be applied to your life.
III. Character Signatures
Character Signatures are a special kind of patterns. They are insights found in the New Testament on the life and character of Old Testament men and women of God. These glimpses into their lives give us a more accurate picture of what gave their lives such significance and impact.
Character Signatures have a right to be classified under Patterns not because the truth is found in two forms. But without this second reference in the New Testament the understanding that we would have of those Old Testament men and women of God would not be complete.
So we refer to the short references in the New Testament as signatures revealing that quality in the lives of the Old Testament saints which makes them stand out as outstanding men and women of God.
In Character Signatures we are thus presenting that one quality–Signature– in the life of each of the Old Testament saints. In other words we are presenting an overall Pattern that is characteristic of the New Testament in revealing compelling insights into the lives of Old Testament saints.
We can apply these signatures in the New Testament to our lives to make it more meaningful for Christ.
IV. Comparative Patterns
So Love’s Ark is presenting you Biblical Patterns with the sure hope that it will challenge you to love the Bible more and help you understand God’s dealings with you better.