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What Does It Mean?

May 01, 2019
By Casey Musselman, Dean of High School Students

Last week, we focused on the question “Why?” A second question of great importance is, “What does it mean?” There are many questions one may ask of history. What happened? When did it happen? What changes came about because of an event or person? These are all very important to ask, but the question, “What does it mean?” is where the lessons of history are found. However, it is not only history that requires us to ask this question. All academic disciplines demand that we ask about deeper meanings. Asking “What does it mean?” is key to critical thinking. When one seeks the meaning of something, they are going beyond facts into theory, philosophy, imagination, and especially, faith.

The greatest examples of seeking meaning are in the parables of Jesus. These simple stories are actually so complex and so rich in meaning, that we never really understand them completely. Every essay or sermon on the Parable of the Prodigal Son reveals a different facet of the love of God shown through the father of the prodigal. The Holy Spirit reveals truth and often convicts us in challenging ways each time we read the parables. Jesus packed these stories with the tenets of Christianity. Two thousand years later, we still study them as they reveal a deeper understanding of  faith in our Lord. As we read these parables, we see the authority and the love of God in more powerful and personal ways.

At Grace, we understand the importance of seeking meaning. We challenge our students - and they challenge us - to “go deep” into events, people, the Bible, literature, and the sciences. GCS students learn that is where wisdom is found. Our students study the meaning of events like the Civil War and what it did to the country. They seek meaning in A Tale of Two Cities, Silence, and 1984. Grace students study the laws of the universe and what they reveal about God. Of course, Grace students study the Bible to gain the most important meaning of all - the meaning of existence and our relationship to God through Christ.

“What does it mean?” can apply to every facet of life. Christians should never be satisfied with shallow, superficial information that does not challenge us or inspire us. In training Grace students to seek meaning, they are learning to apply critical thinking in their lives and their world. We are confident that when Grace students ask, “What does it mean?” that they will inevitably find that God is sovereign and that He loves us.

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