Never Alone

The Warp and the Woof

“This is the law for a case of leprous disease in a garment of wool or linen, either in the warp or the woof, or in any article made of skin, to determine whether it is clean or unclean.” Leviticus 13:59

I love to read portions of God’s word every day, and from cover to cover every year. One might think that after 45 years following Christ and reading His word, I’d have the content of Scripture nailed. But once again this year I was surprised by terms with which I was not familiar. As I read from Leviticus, I noticed the reference to the “warp” and “woof” of a garment. This is in regard to cleansing the cloth of mold, mildew, fungus, or skin disease. As far as I knew, warp was the top speed of the starship Enterprise, and woof was the only word in my dog’s vocabulary. So I dug a little deeper.

Warp and woof are terms which refer to the work of ancient weavers on primitive looms. These looms consisted of a large wooden frame with woolen threads fastened at the top and bottom. The threads that create the horizontal lines are referred to as the “warp” of the cloth. The vertical lines are the “woof.” Together, the warp and woof create the structural strength of a garment. 

In a more modern vernacular, warp and woof are sometimes used to refer to the base of foundational or organizational structure, as in “The Constitution of the United States and The Declaration of Independence are the warp and woof of America.” These documents of origin provide the strength of our nation and identity as a people. To Jewish Christians in modern times, the warp and woof (shethi we`erebh), with their intersecting vertical and horizontal lines, have even provided a secret reference to the cross!

If threads of both warp and woof are strong and complete, a garment is strong and durable. On the other hand, if the weave is done poorly, the garment won’t prove to last long. It will “fall apart like a K-mart sweater,” so to speak. And if the garment is polluted, it must be cleansed for continued use.

If I may borrow the analogy, the warp and woof of our faith are the inerrant Scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures reveal all the foundational truth needed for life on earth (the warp). (1) And the gospel of Jesus Christ is the vertical woof. It leads to a personal relationship with God and eternal life. The warp and woof of a robust and strong faith are knowing and obeying Scripture, and believing and trusting the gospel message that reconciles us with God. (2)

Our lives, churches, and communities depend upon structural integrity. The warp and woof of the inerrant word of God and its focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ create the structural integrity that make us able to stand even in the midst of great opposition. When the fabric of our lives is polluted by the world and by sin, we must cleanse our lives by washing in the word and refocusing on Jesus.

Today, if it seems like your life is falling apart, cleanse the fabric of your life by spending daily time reading God’s word and refocusing on the Living Lord of glory. By His grace He will make us stand.

Only by His grace,

Pastor Steve

1. II Timothy 3:16, 17

2. II Corinthians 5:18

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