Week of: May 9, 2011
Sharing by: Pam Crawford
1 Corinthians 2:12
We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God,
that we may understand what God has freely given us.
Many people struggle with what they refer to as an inability to understand Scripture. I have certainly been there. There was a time when it all sounded like rubbish to me, so I packed the ole Bible away. Maybe this is where you are at today. If so, I have included in this devotion an article by Dr. Charles Stanley titled “Understanding the Bible.” I believe this article might offer some new insight into why some (including trained pastors, teachers, and long time Bible study scholars) struggle to comprehend the Word of God. I had my eyes opened from his explanation and I pray that you might be blessed by this information too. We can always learn something new.
UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE
By Dr. Charles Stanley
"I just don't understand the Bible." That's a comment I hear quite often, even from believers. We can understand why those without Christ are unable to comprehend biblical concepts, but why do those who know Him struggle? Some people think that a seminary education is the answer, but I have met several trained pastors and teachers who didn't really understand the Word of God. They knew facts, but they had no excitement for the Scriptures or for the Lord.
The key is not education but obedience. As we act on what we read, the Holy Book "comes alive," and we begin to hear and understand the voice of God. However, if we have not obeyed what He's previously revealed to us, why would He give us His deeper truths? "The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him" (Ps. 25:14), and those who fear Him are the ones who obey His commandments and are promised "a good understanding" (Ps. 111:10).
Living a fleshly lifestyle of disobedience to the Lord clouds our eyes, diminishes our ability to hear, and fogs our thinking. Although we have full access to the mind of Christ, our attachment to our own sinful ways keeps us from tapping into the rich treasures of wisdom that are found in His Word.
As you read the Scriptures each day, look for God's instructions. Then with reliance upon the Holy Spirit, commit to do what He tells you. When you obey His voice, He'll reveal deeper truths, and your understanding will grow. Soon your time in the Word will become a delight instead of a duty.
I hope you were able to hone in on the comment that “the key is not education but it is obedience.” It’s not about how much we know it’s about what we’re willing to apply once we have learned something. I like how Jesus’ brother James puts it. He says: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.” – James 1:22-25
It has been my experience that when I began to have a genuine desire to learn and apply God’s Word to my life, it began to really come alive. We have to ask God for the ability to discern what He wants us to discover within the pages of His Holy Instruction Manual better known as The Bible. Then, we ask Him for the empowerment to obey what He teaches and we commit to investing time to be blessed by it. I think it’s safe to say that you won’t be disappointed if you’re willing to move towards obedience.
Dr. Stanley also references 1 Corinthians chapter 3 in his original article. Please listen carefully to verses 1:3: “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are sill worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?
Life’s Application Commentary:
“Paul called the Corinthians infants in the Christian life because they were not yet spiritually healthy and mature. The proof was that they quarreled like children, allowing divisions to distract them. Immature Christians are “worldly,” controlled by their own desires; mature believers are in tune with God’s desires. How much influence do your desires have on your life? Your goal should be to let God’s desires be yours. Being controlled by your own desires will stunt your growth.
As much as I would like to claim the status of mature Christian, I will refrain from doing so today. However, I desire to work towards this status and pray to be blessed with it sooner than later. But the truth is, I have much work ahead. And maybe this is some of you today. You want to grow in Christ, but you’re allowing the excuses to keep you from growing. Friends, I am here to witness to you today that you can know the true character of God. You can know His plans and purpose for your life. You can learn what He expects of you. And you can be empowered to obey what you discover. It all starts with your willingness to carve out time in your busy schedule to open His Word, study it and allow Him to teach you. You will be blessed each day to discover new things about your Creator, Sustainer and Savior. And, over time you will desire to obey it. If you need help getting started just ask God to help you.
May I end by sharing just a few things that have been helpful to me as I work towards Spiritual maturity? I would also be willing to talk to anyone desiring to get started. Feel free to e-mail me. The following things have truly blessed me.
· Using a study Bible along with the New King James Bible (I prefer the Life’s Application Study Bible).
· I joined a women’s Bible study group for study, support and fellowship.
· Listen regularly to WCRF Radio 103.3 throughout the day.
· Sought out a church where the Bible is brought and taught.
Additional Resource: Knowing the Bible 101 by Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz
In Christ by grace,