Beyond is a word we don’t use much anymore, but it can be used in a variety of ways.  I once spent a summer in a Mexican town called San Miguel de Allende.  It was named after a man, but Allende could also mean on the other side or beyond.  Another common usage is, surpassing or superior.  Sometimes it will be used to mean outside the limits or reach of.  We are familiar with the idioms the Great Beyond and beyond all hope.

Most of the Old Testament verses which use beyond are referring to a place which is on the farther side of (De 3:25).  In one verse Jonathan told David to escape the danger of King Saul if the arrows he was shooting went beyond him (1 Sam 20:22).  In another verse Balaam declared to Balak, King of Moab “…I could not do anything, good or bad to go beyond the command of the Lord….” (Nu 24:13) That was a wise promise and one echoed by other prophets but ignored by many other Bible personalities (Gen 3:2-7) (Gen 4:6-8).

Some verses in the New Testament talk about being amazed and astonished beyond measure    (Mk 6: 51 KJV) (Mk 7:37 KJV).  The Apostle Paul confesses that he persecuted the church of God beyond measure.  He also said that he was not stretching himself beyond his measure, which some versions translate, overstepping the ability to reach (2 Cor 10:14 KJV).  

Perhaps the most well-known and relevant scripture for us today is 2 Corinthians 8:3 KJV.  Paul uses the Macedonians as an example of going beyond their power in their giving a gift of love, even out of their own deep poverty.  This certainly fulfilled the commandment of Christ to “…love your neighbor as yourself (Lk 10:27).  He set the bar very high for all Christians today. Most of us have a sliding scale of agape love—My blood relatives first, My brethren in the local congregation next, followed by my brethren in the rest of the world, then my friends and neighbors, and possibly my enemies (Lk 6:27).  This involves going beyond in amount, extent, and degree.  To surpass, and transcend the normal expectations, as did the Macedonians.  This will be the norm in the Great Beyond, but is a goal of all committed Christians in this age.

-Jim Bailey