Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Growing in GOD'S WORD (Part 3)

Approach the Bible Reverently 
In approaching the Bible you need to be aware of some of the general means whereby we gain knowledge and understanding, and then relate these to your Bible study. 

We all have accumulated a storehouse of information in our minds through what we have experienced, read and heard. As we gain new information, we tend to assess it in the light of what we already know. However, when studying the Bible you need to reverse this process. Rather than judging the truth and value of the Bible in the light of what you already know, you need to judge the truth and value of what you already know in the light of the Bible. 

For instance, you may have learned that as human beings we evolved from lower forms of life. Since this conflicts with the biblical truth that we have been created by God, you will need to reject this previously learned theory. As you think about your past ways and experiences and knowledge, adopt the attitude of Psalm 119:59 and 104: “I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to Your testimonies…Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.” 

Then there is the matter of your intuition, that faculty within you whereby you become aware of things without the conscious use of reasoning. You may say, “I just feel that this thing is right.” Such intuitive feelings are not necessarily bad, but they must be subjected to the objective truth of the Word of God. The important thing is not what you feel, but what the Word of God says. Feelings can be uncertain or even deceptive, but the Word of God is perfect and trustworthy, regardless of your feelings. As Psalm 19:7 says, “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” 

Another thing to consider is the imagination. We need our imagination. In it we form mental images of what we are learning. Our imagination can be creative, but it can also run wild. Therefore, it needs to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and made subject to the stated truth of the Bible. Jeremiah the prophet describes some people who used their imagination in the wrong way:“Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward” (Jer. 7:24). 

Finally, in studying the Bible, you will come to passages which you don’t understand, or which you may even question. Jot down such questions and ask them to an older Christian who knows more about the Bible than you do. But don’t be distracted from your study by such passages. Recognize that the problem is with your understanding, not with the truth or accuracy of the Bible. So prayerfully seek help from others if it is available; but in any case, move on in your study. 

Realize that God’s Truth Is Many-Sided 
For example, man is both mortal and immortal. Christ is pictured as a lion as well as a lamb. Although God is in control of man, man is not a mere robot. We should expect such seeming paradoxes when dealing with things that are infinite, and be prepared to accept all aspects of infinite truth even when they appear to be contradictory and irreconcilable to our finite minds. Give to each passage of the Bible its full and proper force, even if it goes contrary to your own pet ideas. God will deepen your understanding of His Word in His good time. 

Use and appreciate the commentaries and expositions of men of humble faith and consecrated scholarship. The Lord has given the writings of gifted teachers for the blessing and upbuilding of His people.4 If you are wise, you will soon learn that your own understanding of a passage is not the final word on it; and if you are humble, you will not find it difficult to subject your own thoughts to the teaching of others more mature and instructed in the Word. 

On the other hand, it is important for you to recognize that there is an infinite gap between the best of man’s writings and the Word of God itself. No mere man has a complete knowledge of the truth, so sometimes equally devout believers will disagree. Consider the differences, and seek the enlightenment and testimony of the Holy Spirit in understanding the Scriptures. Remember that commentaries should never take the place of daily reading and study of the Bible on your own. The commentaries of others may not be readily available to everyone for various reasons. You can get along without commentaries, but you can’t get along without the Word of God.

No comments:

Post a Comment