February 3, 2014.
Over the past couple of days, a friend and I have been studying some hard subjects. We have asked hard questions and have been hard-pressed to find complete answers. Through rigorous study and prayers, I believe God is leading us into truth, but it is only through him that we have been able to seek out wisdom. I am very grateful for God revealing himself to me though him answering prayer, as he did so many times yesterday, quite blatantly.
Today, I decided it would be a good idea to talk about the study it takes to understand the scriptures. I used to get mad (and I still do sometimes) that God didn’t just lay everything that he knew we would argue about out clear as day. I used to say, “you gave the Jews the Ten Commandments, and that made life and theology simple. Here are the commands. Do them. Done.” However, we see how that turned out. Even with the commands clearly laid before his chosen people, after a few generations they stopped following them. They turned away and came back so many times before the life of Christ that it was almost expected for them to do so, at least by the reader. Do you think we would do any better today?
So, what’s my point? I think God has given us his word in the way he has in order that we study and ask him for wisdom and guidance. If the New Testament just laid out a bunch of rules: one, it would be no better than the Old Covenant, and two we would still fight and argue about them. We also would not have to rely on God to show us the way. We would become reliant on ourselves. I don’t think God ever intended for that to happen.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
(2 Timothy 2:15)
God wants us to study his word. He wants us to ask for wisdom and guidance. He wants us to seek truth. He never said it would be easy, nor did he ever say it wouldn’t take much time. I think one of our biggest problems is we spend 10, maybe 20 minutes trying to find an answer to an extremely complex and interconnected (and beautiful) concept presented in the bible, and then get annoyed because it is too “difficult.” Or we take an unsatisfactory (or flat out wrong) answer because we did not study it thoroughly. Both of these are very dangerous.
It also leads us just to take what our elders or preachers/teachers tell us as fact as opposed to actually studying and finding out what the bible says itself. You should indeed listen to those who study the word more than you do, but you should also realize that they are fallible and usually have their own biases that they have been handed down from others. Again, that does not necessarily mean they are wrong, but it does mean they could be wrong. We need to study to show ourselves approved unto God. Not our parents, not our preachers, not our neighbors. Ourselves.
And it will be difficult at times. Pray for wisdom.
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”
Spend time in the word. You will be blessed.
Suggested Daily Reading: James 1-5
The Lord give you peace.