2 Timothy 2:15 KJV “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
I don’t claim to be anything close to a Biblical scholar and I am sure that there are many people who have a much better understanding of scripture than I do, but I am at a loss for words with regard to the persistence of many Children of God who ignore the guidance of God’s Holy Word, when it comes to studying and getting to know the holy scriptures.
Why is it that there are so many supposedly well intentioned people who are determined to find a fast track or reap the benefits of the presumed wisdom of a coveted insiders perspective, on understanding Biblical truth?
There are no shortcuts to growing in wisdom and understanding of God’s truth as contained within the Bible. None. The bottom line is that in order to be able to discern what is Biblical truth, one must FIRST be conversant with Biblical truth and that truth is found and defined solely in the Bible.
When we take measurements for height, length and width, we use a standard means of measurement such as inches/feet or millimeters/centimeters. The Bible is the Christian’s standard. It is the means whereby we are to able to have knowledge and understanding of what is truth and what is not truth. If you are not conversant with God’s truth as defined within the Bible, you have nothing to compare untruth with, when you encounter it. And therein lies the problem.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.“
What was one of the main criticisms that Jesus had about the Sadducees?
Matthew 22:29 KJV “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.“
Rather than prayerfully going through the Bible from cover to cover, continuously, so that God’s Word and truths are firmly rooted in our minds and hearts, we find that there are many who possess a superficial or partial understanding of the Bible, many of whom have never even once read through the Bible from cover to cover, not to mention, multiple times (which is actually a necessity), who then encounter an aspect of what they perceive as Biblical truth in the here and now, whereupon they then pursue that perception of truth that they hold, within Christianity, by reading books and undergoing instruction, authored by those who confirm and encourage the perceived goals of the seeker.
Are you familiar with the term “putting the cart before the horse”?
Years ago, when I first read through the entire Bible, I kept a notebook and I wrote down all of the things that I encountered that I didn’t understand. By the time that I got through my initial complete reading, I had a lot of unanswered questions. But as time went on, many (not all) of those questions that I initially had began to get answered. Key word there is “began”. Things like what God’s Word says about faith, sin, the shedding of blood and sacrifices, holiness, justice and mercy, grace, slavery, sanctification, healings, justification, to name but just a few. Where there times when I had a partial or superficial understanding about faith as an example? Yes there where. I have found that God’s truth within me is progressive, His truth remains constant, my understanding is progressively changing towards a more fuller understanding of His ways and His thoughts. I personally don’t think that ever stops while we are in these physical bodies.
A strange thing happens after you’ve read through the Bible a few times. Teachings such as the “Prosperity Gospel” or that God is always willing to physically heal everyone, or prophecy that doesn’t correlate with God’s Word or criteria and the pursuit of a host of other topics, immediately strike you as being foreign and not of God, when encountered.
John 10:27,John 10:5 comes to mind.
Please note that I am not against reading and undergoing courses and books of instruction on Biblical truths but I would strongly suggest that this would be something that one does AFTER you’ve read through the Bible two or three times, especially if the teaching encompasses an area of truth that is controversial within the Christian church as a whole. Topics such as healing, signs and wonders, prophecy come to mind.
Common sense things like taking the time to investigate and evaluate any criticisms that the church at large may have about a given author and their Biblical doctrine is another prudent step which is frequently overlooked. People like Bill Johnson, Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen come to mind. They all have large numbers of followers which begs the question, if “Christians” are conversant with the doctrines and principles of God’s truth, why do these people have large numbers of followers?
2 Timothy 4:1-5 NIV “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
Isaiah 28:10 KJV “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”
“Discernment is not a matter of telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.”
– Charles Spurgeon
Please forgive me for harping on this again.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!