The new A5 booklet of 35 pages is intended for those who have no previous knowledge of the subject. Included are senior Sunday School and Youth Group attendees who wish to know more about Jesus’ last message but find difficulty in understanding a straight reading of the words.
To help overcome this problem:
- First, the text is presented in easily readable, short sentences and in 35 pages only.
- Second, the matter is grouped around eight STEPS – statements/answers. Progressing through these enables the reader to grasp much of the meaning.
In the text of chapter 1 an example is considered:
“And He sent and signified it by his angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the Word of God.” Revelation 1:12
It is pointed out that the word used in the original for ‘signified‘ actually means, ‘to represent by sign or symbol.‘
Further reading into the first chapter:
“And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands.” Revelation 1:20
What are we to understand by such a message?
The function of the lampstand is to provide light in the darkness. But is there more to the message than this? Reading the surrounding verses in the chapter, that is “the context”, we find the meaning is spelled out for us:
“The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven candlesticks…are the seven churches.”
The interpreted message is that:
The purpose of a church or ‘ecclesia’ is to radiate out through its members the light of God’s Truth.
It is always wise to read surrounding verses in a chapter as very often these make the meaning of an individual verse clear.
A further help in interpreting the words is to think about how they are used in other parts of Scripture. The use of light occurs frequently as describing God’s truth:
“among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15
This consideration leads on naturally to a detailing of the first step of the eight steps in the book as a whole:
STEP 1: PAY GREAT ATTENTION TO RECOGNISING AND ATTEMPTING TO INTERPRET THE MEANINGS OF THE MANY SIGNS USED.
The remainder of the consideration in First Steps similarly draws out further core topics by detailing seven additional Steps to complete an initial understanding of the Book as a whole.
As in the case of other publications in the series, the content overall is based on J Thomas’ original approach.