When we read Scripture, it’s easy to get caught up in the major themes and miss some of the small details. Sometimes the little transition words are the most critical. Often they answer the question ‘why’ and give a little more insight into the passage as a whole. Consider these opening verses in Luke 15:
Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him (2) And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” (3) So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
From there Jesus tells the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son. If you miss the ‘So’ in verse 3, you miss the purpose for the story. He was illustrating the grace of God in receiving sinners, in stark contrast to the contempt the religious establishment showed them. There is joy at the restoration of the broken fellowship. The Pharisees and scribes misread the heart of God.
Verses 6 and 9 have the little word ‘for’ telling us the reason for the joy. “I have found what was lost”. The restoration of the lost possessions is a metaphor for repentance. How much joy and glory it gives God when we come to agree with Him about where we stand!
Other ‘why’ words include because, therefore (and its twin, wherefore), and occasionally ‘so’ is teamed up with ‘that’. Pay attention to them and you’ll gain added insight into God’s purposes and ways.