January 24 – The Bible

January 24 – The Bible

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“ …be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

How important is it to understand the Bible? Is it possible?

Church history indicates that understanding the Bible is very important, yet very difficult to do. The enormous energies devoted to explaining the Bible show the great importance of understanding the Bible. On the other hand, the division of the church into so many denomina­tions bears witness to the fact that we are far from agreement on what the Bible means. If it is God’s Word, re­vealing His will, nothing could be of greater importance than un­derstanding it. If the Bible was given to reveal the truth and not to hide it, God must intend that we understand it. If we do not, the fault must lie with us, not with Him. If we do not understand His communication, it is imperative that we determine the reason.

Some people do not understand the Bible because they do not believe it is true, or at least, they do not believe that all parts of it are true. Others do not understand it because they are unwilling to obey it. Still others misunderstand the communication because they are unwilling to work hard at searching out the meaning. For those people who go astray in their understanding of the Bible, there are several words from God: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for re­proof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

God’s Word is to be trusted and obeyed. The one who does not trust it, or is not prepared to obey it, cannot expect to fully under­stand what God is saying. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth..” (2 Timothy 2:15)

It is not enough simply to trust and obey; one must be pre­pared to work diligently to understand Scripture.

But the right attitude or approach to the Bible is not all that is necessary for understanding its meaning. Do a good attitude and a commitment to hard work alone enable a person to build a beauti­ful piece of furniture? No, for there is a right way and a wrong way to build. Furthermore, certain skills must be developed before a person, though using the right method, can build properly. So it is with understanding the Bible. One must not only have the right attitude and approach; he must also use good methods and devel­op skill in their use.

The methods one chooses for biblical interpretation will de­pend on one’s presuppositions about the nature of the Bible. Then, we turn to the portion of Bible study which is examining the practical skills necessary to put the principles into practice. Through this meth­od of study the student should be able to gain the knowledge and develop the skills necessary for determining and applying the appropriate meaning of Scripture so that the Christian is thoroughly equipped for every good work. [2]

The basic presupposition about the Bible that distinguishes believers from unbelievers is that the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself and of His will for us. Although Christians are united in that basic affirmation, the implications of the statement are viewed in very different ways. Does it consist of infallible propositions? Is it the record of certain acts of God? Is it an inspired record? Is there revelation outside Scripture? Our views here will dictate how we handle the text. Our minds are not empty when we read or listen to Scripture; what we hear is already partly predetermined by what is already in our thinking. May we study God’s word faithfully!

[2] Understanding and Applying the Bible, Robertson McQuilkin, (2014), Moody Press, 15-17.

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