Yesterday, as most days, I get involved in a conversation with someone regarding a point of doctrine. Now, let me make this clear, I don’t spend a whole lot of time on church policy or church doctrine, but I will spend whatever time is necessary to discuss Biblical Doctrine; and as almost likely in these conversations I’ll ask this one important question: “Have you read the Bible, from cover-to-cover?” and most likely, except in one instance, and usually after a pause, the person will admittedly type: “no”. I have a problem with this.
How many of you have gone to college and the professor advised you to read a particular chapter to be discussed the following day? Have you ever showed up for class, not having read the chapter, and then were called upon to answer a question? How did you feel at the moment? Did you have much to say or did you try to flub your way through it hoping in the multitude of words you’d hit the answer? Or, simply, did you admit you were not prepared? That would have been my choice and I also would have kept silent and LEARNED what I should have learned, on my own, when instructed to do so. What is surprising, to me, is when someone asks me a question, not having READ the Bible and then portends to “TEACH” me. Incredible! Can you imagine the student who hadn’t read the chapter now questions the teacher and “THINKS” they can teach the PROFESSOR, which they are called because they PROFESS to know the subject matter and given the position because they KNOW and have PROVEN themselves as having known the information.
I’m not one to blow my own horn but I will share with you something I learned a long time ago when at the age of about 5 and a young man named (Elder) C.D. Brooks was my pastor. This man captivated me with the ability to quote Bible text. Even today I watch him on YouTube and his ability astounds me still. What a “PROFESSOR” of truth. I can remember asking my mother how does he do it. She told me something which affected my entire life. She said, “He reads his Bible.” Well, that did it for me.
I was given my first Bible at age 10 and by age 11 I completed reading it. Sort of difficult for a child who’s just learned reading and competent enough to do so with the King James Version. But, it was an achievement because I was on my way to being like Pastor Brooks, who was on his way to being like Christ! Today, I am 57. I have never stopped reading the Bible at least once a year. In 2011, I read, (not read and is “reed” but read as in “red”) it 11 times. In one situation, I spent the whole weekend, doing nothing but reading it and accomplished doing so in 3 days. Bragging? No, I have a need to continue feeding myself because I’m often called to help someone else get their spiritual food. However, I do think it is foolish when someone “THINKS” they can discuss Biblical matters not having read the Bible at least once. How could you possibly understand context without having done so? Like the student, how can you possibly understand without having read the chapter the previous day? You can’t! There’s no long logical and technical answer. It’s simply: you can’t.
The Bible says the Holy Spirit will bring back to your memory that which you have read and learned. How can the Holy Spirit bring anything back if there’s nothing to work with! That’s a good one and qualifies for a LOL (Laugh Out Loud). My suggestion to you or anyone for the future, if you have a “Bible” question, spend some time reading the “ENTIRE” book first before asking me. For one, you will probably answer your own question and two, there’s another text which states we have no reason to learn from anyone, to be “taught by man”! Now, why is this? Because God loves to teach people Himself, and this is only possible and likely to occur when you have set aside time to spend with Him discussing His Word rather than being on social network sites involved in foolish debates.
And, do it, “cover-to-cover”. I know some people recommend you begin with John, then the other gospels, then the rest of the New Testament and then the Old Testament. Foolishness. When you received a 10 page letter from a loved one, did you read page 5, then pages 8 and 9, and then go back to page 1? Get my point. God arranged it, yes, He, not man, arranged it this way for a purpose. Now, those who have read the Bible will know the reason for this, and it is usually those who haven’t will raise objection. Take it from someone who’s lost count as to how many times he’s read God’s Love Letter to man, it does make a difference.
With all that having been said, the next time someone asks me a question, my first question to them will be, “Have you read the Bible, from cover-to-cover?” If you haven’t, you may have to stay after class!
August 25, 2014