I hate it when I miss the obvious. For example, I can look for a book on my shelves for what seems like forever and can’t find it. Then, when all hope is gone, my wife comes along and grabs it right from the center of the shelf that I was just looking at! Arrrgh! The same thing can happen with God’s Word. To understand it rightly I must not overlook the obvious – God’s Word explains itself!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
In church history there was a time of awakening. It is called the Reformation. It was a time when Christ’s church began to examine itself and came to this realization – the Bible was sufficient to understand the Bible! It seems so obvious now, but back then it was revolutionary! As our Scripture today declares, it is the whole of Scripture that God has breathed into existence and made useful for teaching us everything we need to know to be ready to be used by him.
This is not to diminish the helpfulness of historical and language and theological study. However, those studies do not replace the straight forward study of God’s Word. They simply are means by which we can shine light on places that we might not understand as clearly because of the changes of time and culture. However, even for those of us who are not as well read or as theologically trained, God’s Word can still be clear. All it takes is three things:
- Time. We must spend time with God in his Word. No spiritual laziness can be tolerated if we are truly wanting to study and know him.
- Care. We must carefully study his word and pay attention to the details. We must try to place ourselves back with Moses, and David, and Paul. Why? Because these were real people. They aren’t just characters in a novel. They are real people with real struggles and real lives. The details are important for they explain why God worked through them the way he did.
- Openness. We must be open to change. Whatever culture we grew up in, it isn’t perfect. All of us have skewed understandings of the things that the Bible speaks of. Love, hope, joy, trust, family, and faith are all words we use often. The Bible uses these words too. Will we let the Bible tell us what those words really mean? Will we be open to what God is saying?
So, will you and I carefully study God’s Word? Or, will we give that task to “professional experts” who will tell us what it really means? I think that we lose something precious when we give our study of God’s Word to someone else. That is especially true when we realize that God gave us his Word to specifically to make us what he created us to be!
Something to think about