Understanding the Good Book
By Jon W. Quinn
I am going to begin by suggesting three
statements which I believe most people who believe that the Bible is God's word
will agree on, at least to some extent.
1) God has given us a book we can understand. (Ephesians 3:4; 5:17). If not,
then why did He tell us to understand it? Why would He tell us we can understand
it if we cannot?
2) We must have an understanding of this book to be pleasing to God. (Matthew
24:39). Jesus illustrated the fate of those who fail to understand today with
those who failed to understand in Noah's day.
3) Many do not understand. Jesus described this as being on a broad way.
(Matthew 7:13,14). If people can understand the Bible, but do not, then it's
Accepting the Challenge to Better Know
We must desire to know the Bible. Why is this a good thing to know?
First, one must know God's will in order to apply it to one's life. This is true
at the very beginning of our journey of faith (Romans 10:13-17; 1 Peter 2:1-3).
This is also true all through a disciple's life (John 8:31,32). We may not
(cannot) know all the ways and mind of God, but we can know His will for our
lives and rejoice (Romans 11:33-36; 1 John 3:18;19).
Also, our salvation depends on knowing the Scriptures. This has always been
true. (Hosea 4:6). Even those who have a zeal for God still need knowledge
(Romans 10:1-3; Acts 17:30,31).
Additionally, we can do more for Jesus if we know the Bible better. He has done
so much for us (2 Corinthians 8:9). Lack of knowledge will hinder our
relationship with the Lord as well as our ability to work with Him to bring
about His goals. Because of ignorance, some seeking to serve God have actually
sinned against Him! (1 Corinthians 2:8; 1 Timothy 1:13).
So, we need to determine in our hearts to seek to know God's way better. This
calls for commitment. As the Psalmist said, “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust
also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalm 37:5). Such dedication will be rewarded
in this life and the next (2 Timothy 2:12;13)
Taking the Time
Spending time with God's word is necessary to know it and grow in it. Recall
Ephesians 3:4 “And by referring to
this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ...”
How often is often enough to spend time with the word? I do not know if I can
come up with a definitive answer, but I do know this: disciples, noble of mind
and goal, eager to know God's way in the first century would answer that
question by saying, “We think it is good to 'daily' spend time with the
Scriptures.” (Acts 17:11). I also know that God
appreciated their efforts, and rewarded them accordingly. He will us as well.
Do not let your spiritual armor have any chinks in it (Ephesians 6:13,15). Take
time to both know and do as “the perfect law of liberty”
counsels us (James 1:21-23).
“I don't have time” will not suffice. It
never has. That was something that Martha needed to learn, and Jesus made the
point clearly. Don't become so distracted that you fail to devote the time
necessary to growing in the word and lose your soul! (Luke 10:38-42).
The Need To See
We can allow ourselves to be blind to the truth. Sometimes, the lack of the
quantity of study is not the problem, but the attitude. Jesus said,
"Therefore I speak to them in parables;
because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do
they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which
says, 'YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON
SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE
THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR
HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”
(Matthew 13:13-15; see also John 5:39, 40). These people were dedicated to the
Scriptures, but not to the Messiah of which they spoke. They were blinded by
their own prejudices and opinions. (John 8:43).
Religious leaders, theologians, scholars are not the answer. There is no
substitute for personal investigation by a soul eager to know the will of the
Lord and please Him. It matters not the quantity of time devoted to study of the
word if the heart is not right (Matthew 15:14; John 16:2).
There are sad consequence of allowing ourselves to be so blinded (2 Corinthians
4:3,4). We must also remember that one does not have to remain in darkness.
After explaining why some would remain “blind”
due to their own poor attitudes, Jesus said to the honest seekers, "But
blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.”
The New Testament says, “Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I
am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but
shall have the light of life.'" (John 8:12). To
live the darkness is to remain lost. To come to the light is to receive eternal
life (John 3:19-21)
Understanding the Word of God is possible for those who desire to do so and are
willing to put forth the effort and do away with the excuses. This is the only
way to make it from where you are now to the glory of the throne of God in
eternity. Its really easy to become so captivated by the world that we neglect
this very important aspect of our lives.
The Scriptures of God tell us of Jesus as our Savior, of His sacrifice for our
sins, of His resurrection, of His love for us, of His coming again to take His
people home. They also tell us what is necessary to reach victory. We are able
to understand “the Good Book” and it is good, as is the reward God has for those
who dedicate themselves to learn and live by His words.
From the Bradley
Published by the Bradley
Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
Bradley, IL 60915