The Bible And Bible Study
"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. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
There are many ideas floating around about the Bible, and many people who ask, "How do you know the Bible is God's Word instead of the writing of men and totally uninspired?" The answer for me is very simple, but rarely understood or accepted by those who have never come to know God as I have. The obvious answer, unacceptable to some is, that I know the Author personally!
Now people will accept that if you have a copy of a book with an inscription from the author addressed to you personally when it comes to any other book written by men, however with the Bible it is different. The inscription dedicated to me personally is written outside the book and in my heart as proven by the salvation graciously given to me by the Author. It is his word written on my heart that has sealed his authorship to me, and his continued speaking to me through his word that keeps that inscription real. It is in the many answered prayers that were brought to the Author alone and based on this book that proves over and over that the Bible is indeed his word to me and millions of other believers across the world. Although this book was written by many servants of the Author over many years by men of varied backgrounds and experiences, they have all been presenting one unified theme from the Old Testament through the New Testament, and that theme is the redemption of mankind through the grace of the Author.
In 2 Timothy 3:16 above the word for inspired is theopneustos which means "God breathed." The implication here is that God used the minds, hearts, and personal style of the writers to present his word to mankind in a way that all men for all time would understand if they took the time to study it as they should. It is interesting that the Bible was written by a wide variety of people over thousands of years, and even though none of them communicated with the others in their writing, there is one message of love and reconciliation for those who will receive it, and a message of condemnation for those who don't. To believe that this is the mere work of man apart from divine intervention and direction is particularly strong evidence of the corruption of the heart.
C R Lord © 2016
"For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword; piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
A Perspective On Bible Study
Before I present anything concerning Bible study I must clarify something that might not set well with unbelievers, but truth is not always welcome for some if it offends their vanity or stands in strong opposition to their long held opinions. It is not my intent to create turmoil or confrontation but to declare truth to every man irregardless of his spiritual condition. All who read what is presented here are free to reject what I write or say on video or audio. I only assure you that my motivation is pure before God and so I cannot be passive in presenting truths as I believe the Lord reveals them to me. With that in mind; let me continue.
According to the scriptures any human being who has never repented of their sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ is "spiritually dead in sin and trespass." A person who is in this condition is classified as carnal, worldly and ignorant of spiritual truth. It is only at the point of turning from sin and receiving salvation through Jesus Christ that God brings divine revelation to the human heart and the person who receives that revelation suddenly understands spiritual truth for the first time in their life. With that in mind I begin my perspective on Bible study with a clear statement that might grieve some but will be welcome truth to others. It will grieve men who value their opinion over truth or who cannot be taught for one reason or the other. All those who truly value truth will not be offended by what I am about to say but they will be challenged by it enough to investigate whether or not it has any merit. You, dear reader will have to determine yourself how you receive or reject what I present. Remember this though; there is a day of accountability for all of us concerning what we do or don't do concerning the word of God - the Bible. You don't have to believe that but I do and so I have this to say:
1 Corinthians 2:14 King James Version of the Bible states; "But the NATURAL MAN receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED."
The verse above is vitally important. The natural man is the unbeliever who has never been honored with a divine revelation through the atonement and the salvation it provides through Jesus Christ. Notice that the person in that state 'RECEIVETH NOT' or cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God. They can't receive anything from God because they are spiritually dead in their sin. That can be proven of all mankind who are outside of Christ by a simple study of the subject of man as he is connected with sin in scripture. The next part of the verse says that scripture is "foolishness" unto him. For the worldly man the scripture makes no sense so he either turns it off or mocks it in his ignorance rather than investigating it to prove whether it is true or not. There are vast numbers of individuals who are in this state either by willing defiance of the God of heaven or by ignorance because they have not been informed of what the Bible teaches by someone who is informed about it. So the verse continues on with the truth "neither can he know them." THIS IS THE RUB THAT WILL ANGER SOME AND CHALLENGE OTHERS. Thus the unbeliever cannot rightly understand the least thing truthful about the word of God because he is as an alien trying to understand a foreign language without ever having studied it. WHY IS THIS SO? The latter part of the verse explains it without apology and gets straight to the point. "BECAUSE the scriptures are spiritually discerned."
Well you might say, what makes you so sure that you are right about what you believe about the scriptures? I will respond with another verse as a Christian of over 49 years who loves God and lives to serve him. John 16:13 - "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth." This promise is for believers only. The secular, worldly and carnal mind is not promised teaching from God prior to repentance and faith in Christ. They are left to their own devices and remain ignorant of spiritual truth apart from salvation. The Holy Spirit, which this verse speaks of, has been my teacher for all these years, and I am forever and ever learning more and more about the God I serve and his ways to my own benefit and enrichment in every facet of my life.
To all skeptics and unbelievers no matter how opinionated or stubborn you might have been in the past I put forth this challenge. Put God to the test to prove himself to you, BUT DON'T COME ARROGANT OR FILLED WITH YOUR OWN SELF or you will not receive anything from him. He reveals himself to the humble and contrite heart. If you have no sorrow for your sin against him you will never bow before him in repentance and faith. BUT if you will humble yourself and put aside you pride and come with simplicity and confess your sin to him and seek his forgiveness you will find him more than willing to meet you halfway. Oh, it is such a blessed life to be free from my own ignorance and pride. It is such a blessing to know that I can turn my entire life over to the master of the universe and live without fear of anything or anyone. Won't you join me today if you don't know him? You will never find the peace, joy, power or purpose in life you wish apart from him. Seek the Lord today. None of us is ever promised tomorrow or even one more second of life. God loves you and wants what is best for you. He is not going to force you to repent of your sins and get right with him. He has given you a free will to decide for him or against him. I pray you will make the right decision before you enter eternity. Once in eternity there is no turning back.
And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and shall talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7
O how I love thy law; it is my meditation all the day. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalms 119:97 and Psalms 119:105
My Perspective on Bible Study
1.The Objective: To be objective (not subjective) students (not mere readers) of God’s Word. To do this without any outside aids (ie: commentaries, Bible Study handbooks, Bible dictionaries, or any other literature or device currently made available to us, so that the study is fresh and new to us.
We Must Be Spirit Taught
2: The Scriptural Basis: I Corinthians 2:14 concerning the natural man and then 2 Timothy 2:15 commanding the study of God’s Word. Supporting scriptures include the following, but are not restricted to them: Joshua 1:8 , Psalms 1:2, Psalms 119: 1-176, and Deuteronomy 6:6-7 telling us when we should teach scripture to our children.
Proposition #1: We are all shallow in our understanding of God’s Word, and also of its application to our lives and the lives of all mankind. Because of this our understanding of God is shallow as well and as a result our faith also operates in proportion to what our understanding of God is. Therefore, God has been hindered from doing great and mighty works through us due to our ignorance of the scriptures among other evils.
We have become dependent on seminars, teachers, preachers, books, cassettes, videos and a host of other things instead of pursuing God and knowledge of him on our own. The lack of spiritual power in the church today testifies against us. We speak the word of God with kindness, tenderness and pleasantness, but rarely, if ever, with deep conviction, power and authority. The proof lies in the alarming lack of lasting conversions to Christ in churches Worldwide. Oh, we do love to boast of great moves of God, leading people to Christ, but multitudes of these conversions are pseudo-conversions that last for the moment. Others only last until persecution is brought against these new converts and/or the good feelings leave and then they forsake Christ much like pliable in John Bunyan’s great allegory entitled “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”
Proposition #2: Many of us are impressed with our own spirituality because God has graciously “condescended to use us” in one way or the other. Rather than humbling ourselves and giving the glory and honor to God who empowered us, we allow our pride to become a barrier to being used in even greater measure, and what we have must be taken away to humble us. We must, in the innermost depths of our very being, understand that God will not share his glory with man. All glory and honor and praise must be his and his alone! The heart that truly loves him will have no problem with this.
Proposition #3: Most, if not all, of our problems can be resolved if we approach God’s word with a teachable heart, willing to allow the Spirit of God to speak to us about things that need to be dealt with in our lives. We must be ready to hear the word spoken to us by anyone no matter how we view them provided they are not teaching heresy or anti-God and anti-biblical things. The heart that is truly set on seeking God and his truth can receive that truth from anyone or through any of life's circumstances. (Remember, God spoke to a prophet through a donkey and to a wayward disciple through a rooster). Because God is revealed in his word, we will come to know him better, trust him more, love him more and obey him more rather than question him concerning everything he speaks to us.
Proposition #4: As we study God’s word there will be times when God will require from us things which run contrary to our nature, our understanding, our desire and our will. Please take notice to the word "our." We will then have to decide whether we will yield to him, and by our decision, grow in grace or we will groan in disgrace. This is inevitable!
3. Conclusion: Do we want to know God’s Word in a way that is demanding or challenging? Are we ready to allow the word of God to convict us of our need for self-examination, self-abasement and thorough purging of those things in our lives that are offensive to a holy God? Do we want to pay the price to be conformed to the “image of his Son?” Do we want to shed our spiritual fat and replace it with spiritual muscle? Are we ready to “invest” the necessary time in order to see the results even though it may take years? Remember: “A day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day.” Can we put aside our television, electronic games, social visits or any hindrance God would call to our attention? Are we willing to bear any inconvenience or pain, take any insult or injury, slander or persecution for the knowledge of him who freely gives life, light, wisdom, grace agape love and immortality to us?
The answers to these questions and many others will determine our commitment to the study and application of God’s word. As individuals, do we really want a Bible study that changes us? As a body of believers, do we? Do we really?
This is not a game! This is spiritual warfare!
This is not for those whose total commitment to Christ hinges on the sweets of God’s word but refuse to deal with the call to commitment that is demanded in the Bible. Satan will fight against all who choose to be firm in this, but we are more than conquerors through him who loves us and gave his life for us! Will you and I be spectators or join in the fight? God is waiting for our answer. What will it be?