Sunday, January 23, 2011

What is the Bible Part Three

Part three from my dear hubby!
Since I have briefly described what the Bible is (here, and here), one other lingering question may remain.  So, if the Bible is God’s inspired revelation to man, isn’t the text and ideas included in the Bible too difficult to understand and doesn’t it need to be explained by a ‘professional’?  After all, God is the all-knowing, sovereign LORD and we are only human.  How are we expected to understand Him?  We’ll, let’s take a look at this. 
First, God wants to have a relationship with us.  He wants us to know Him.  Prior to the fall of man (Genesis 3), God spoke directly with man and walked with him in the garden.  In addition, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ clearly show how much God wants to restore the relationship with man that sin messed up. 
Second, all of mankind is in the same fallen state (Romans 3:23), so none of us is infallible, meaning none of us is more equipped to understand scripture than another.  Please don’t misunderstand me on this point.  God does equip some believers to be pastors, evangelists, teachers, etc (Ephesians 4:11), but God still commands all believers to read, study, and meditate on His word.  The pastors, teachers, etc are still human themselves and are capable of being wrong.  In fact, one of the major concerns of Jude, Peter, and other New Testament writers was for believers to be discerning of the doctrine being taught to ensure the message is not false doctrine and the messengers are not actually false teachers. 
What else does the Bible say about who should study the Bible?  In 2 Timothy 2:14-15, according to the context of the passage, Paul instructs Timothy to tell ALL the believers in Ephesus (and by application – all believers now) to “accurately handle the word of truth.”  Paul tells the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 1:17, that he was sent by Christ to “preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech”, meaning that Christ only wanted him to proclaim the message and that that would be enough for people to understand.  Luke also tells of the Bereans in the book of Acts (17:11) how they “examined the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” 
Furthermore, fathers are specifically commanded in Deuteronomy 6:1-9 to teach the things of the Lord to their children.  How are fathers supposed to teach their children if God did not specifically give them the ability to read and understand the Bible for themselves?  Thankfully, in God’s grace, He has given us His Spirit that dwells in each believer and His Spirit guides us into all truth according to John 16:13.  1 Corinthians 2:10-12 also states “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,”  In summation, God wants everyone to know Him.  He has offered His Word to us in a clear fashion so that all can understand.  And for those who have accepted Christ as their savior, He has given us the Holy Spirit so that we can search the depths of God.

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