SeekersTrove.com—Treasure Beyond Measure

Understanding the Bible

The Bible is an amazing book. It contains the mysteries of God, all hidden in plain sight. The purpose of this paper is to show you, my friends, some of the keys to understanding the Bible. You cannot simply pick it up and read and understand it. That just doesn't work.

In order for you to understand it you must first believe that is it true. To the same degree which you believe, and obey its teachings, you can understand it. If you believe that it was written by a bunch of old homophobic, self-seeking, women oppressing, male religious zealots, then you will have no faith in its truth, and therefore you will not benefit from its power. The book works by faith. You must have faith for God's promises to come to life for you. If your faith is not up to par, fear not, it is God who supplies the faith--just read it and try to hear and see what it is saying.

The Word of God

Ultimately you must believe that it is the Word of God, that is, that it is divinely inspired as the Scriptures themselves say:

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV84)

 

2 Peter 1:20-21

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (NIV84)

Two or Three Witnesses

This brings up another very important point. Every truth that you glean from the Scriptures must be established by two or three witnesses, that is, different places in the Bible, and must not be in disagreement with any other two or three passages. This is very, very important. If you hold something to be true, but I can produce two passages that are not in agreement with what you hold to be true, then you are in error. The error may be subtle, but it is nonetheless there. I can't tell you how many times people have put forth their ideas to me on some passage or other and then when I show them that it can't be true, because of this passage and that passage, they are offended and go off and continue believing it.

James 1:16-18

Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (NIV84)

 

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (NIV84)

Be Humble, Be Teachable

We must be teachable. A teachable person is hungry for knowledge and is humble. Pride will put the brakes on learning like nothing else. If a person holds to a view in the face of conflicting passages they may be allowing pride to stand in the way. However, the truth is a very subtle thing. Hold to what you truly see in God's Word, but always listen to what people say. They may be right, and you may be wrong. Always keep an open mind.

I hope that what you want to believe is what the Bible actually means, and not what you want it to mean. I have had people say to me that God would not send people off to the Lake of Fire because he is too good. Well, they want to believe that he wouldn't, but the Bible clearly says that he will. What they don't understand, is how can God being as loving and kind as he is, do such a thing. Well he is good, kind, loving, and patient, but he is also just. His love for those who love him, and want to be with him, is so great that he will make it impossible for those who would hurt his children to do so. They will be excluded from Heaven, and the presence of his children.

God Knows Better Than You

You see, my friends, this brings up another point. We must not try to filter the Bible's Truths through our understanding. We must accept what the Bible says is true, and ask God to show us why. This leaves room for God to show us the truth. But if we say that we know, and will accept no teaching from God, then we will remain in ignorance. What God says, is going to happen, whether or not you believe or accept it. Be honest, my friend, and think how preposterous it is for you, or I, to disagree with God, or to think that we are more moral than he.

My friends, I know that God is good, that he is loving and kind, and that he is just and fair. So when I see things going on in the Scriptures that seem like he is not those things, I just press on and ask God to show me what he is doing and why. I know that in the end I will see the justice in what he is doing, even if I don't see it now, and to say that he is not going to do what the Bible clearly says, is ridiculous.

Please let me give you an example of this. About a year ago I was reading some person's ideas concerning those who do not go to heaven. This person said that those who do not go to heaven are destroyed in hell, that is, they are not left there in eternal torment, but instead they simply cease to exist. Well I have never really looked at this topic and I was intrigued. This person had some passages that backed up his idea. I read them and wondered. I had always held that as eternal beings we will exist forever, and thought that eternal separation from God was eternal, but then again, if the damned ceased to exist, well, that was eternal separation too. Anyway, I got out a 4x5 card and started reading in Matthew. I indicated on the card each and every passage that said anything at all about this topic. After finishing Revelation, I went back and examined all of the passages, and I found that the article that started all this was wrong. There are passages that talk about people being destroyed in hell, or the Lake of Fire, but there are also passages that talk about the eternal torment. If people were simply consumed in the Lake of Fire then why would they be in eternal torment? If that were the case they would simply be gone. We have to go with what the Bible says and not with what we want it to say.

Why would God consign people to a place of eternal torment? Well, honestly I don't know, but I know that God is just and he is good. If nothing else I know that he is bigger than I am, and he gets to make the rules, not me. (Strictly speaking God doesn't actually consign anyone to the Lake of Fire. God offers salvation to any who will take it, people reject the goodness that is God, and consign themselves to the Lake of Fire, but that's another story.)

The point that I am trying to make is that the Truth is that which agrees with every verse of the Bible, not just those that we pick out. We should want to know what the Truth is, and search for it. This is with out a doubt the biggest problem with respect to the Bible today. People are forever pasting together doctrines that are not supported by the fullness of Scripture. There is only one Truth. This is the reason that we have so many denominations.

The Higher View

Another very important aspect of the Bible is that it must be understood from God's perspective and not ours. Please let me explain.

From our perspective our lives seem long. The length of our days seems to be important. The quality of our days also seems important. From God's perspective our lives are but a passing shadow, barely a moment. God is eternal, and we too are eternal. I am not saying that the length and quality of our lives isn't important to God, but that there are things that are more important to us than this, and that God knows this and acts accordingly.

Psalm 90:1-6

A prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3 You turn men back to dust, saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men." 4 For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. 5 You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning-- 6 though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. (NIV84)

Now what does this mean? It means that nothing of our condition here on earth matters more than our obtaining a living relationship with God. It means that if I am hungry and in pain all of my days, but have God, then all is truly well. It means that if I obtain fifty billion dollars and die without knowing God my Savior, then I have nothing. This is a simple fact. God knows this, and everything in the Bible must be viewed with this in mind.

Matthew 16:25-26

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (NIV84)

 

Matthew 13:44-46

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (NIV84)

I will show you an example of this. Let us consider the role of women in the Bible. Critics of the Bible, who do not know or understand this about the Bible, say that God views women as second class citizens, that women are less important than men. They believe that this is what the Bible teaches. This is not what the Bible teaches.

Men and Women

1 Peter 3:1-6

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (NIV84)

 

Ephesians 5:22-33

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- 30 for we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32 This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (NIV84)

Now people who value this life more than their relationship with God will look at these passages and see that men are favored in the Bible over women. Why is it that a woman is given to a man in marriage, and that she must give up her name and take the name of her husband, and why is it that any children she bares are considered the man's children more than they are consider hers? If God truly views women as equal to men, then why the distinction in the Bible?

Let us, however, consider what is going on and why. The reason can only be understood in the light of the fact that the Eternal is infinitely more important than the temporary, that is, our earthly lives. God has built a world that is designed to show us things about God. Things are not only what they seem. There is a spiritual side to everything also. The spiritual is always the more important.

We can view the creation of Adam and Eve in Genesis on a purely literal basis, and it is in fact literal, but there is a spiritual truth there also. Adam and Eve are also symbolic of a greater truth. The man symbolized God, and the woman symbolizes mankind.

The events of the creation of man and woman also show us that after God had made the creation he looked out and saw that there was no one for him, that is, not one of his kind. So he took from himself and formed the woman, (humankind.) The intention of the woman was to be united to himself in a marriage-like union of faith and love. This is the profound mystery Ephesians 5:31-32 above is talking about. The Biblical relationship between a man and his wife is a teaching tool to give us true understanding of our relationship with God in Christ.

When a person believes the "proposal" of a union with God in Christ, and they want to enter into this relationship, they make a public confession of their commitment to the relationship, just like the human institution of marriage.

Romans 10:9-10

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (NIV84)

It is impossible for a person to understand something outside their frame of reference. What I mean is a person born blind cannot understand the concept of color. You could explain it until you are blue in the face, :-) and never will the hearer truly understand. You could explain the relationship of marriage to a group of gorillas and they will not understand, because they were not created in the image and likeness of God, who is Love.

God made us the way he did, and instituted what he did, so that through our conforming to what he says to do, we gain a frame of reference, so that we can then understand the things of God.

What is really important? Being head of the household, or being united to God through a bond of faith and love for all eternity? God knows what is best for us, and so he instituted what will do us the greatest good. Nothing that God requires of us is for his good. The Bible tells us that we can do nothing for God, either good or bad. He loves us and wants us to do things his way so that we can come to understand him and love him.

Why is it that God opposes homosexuality? Is it because he hates people that do it? No, God hates homosexuality because it doesn't point to a life with him. Spiritually the homosexual is saying that they reject God and prefer one of their own. This leads to a life that doesn't include a true and loving relationship with God in Christ.

Why does God oppose the fornicator? Because spiritually it means that a person is not committed to the relationship with God alone, but is hopping from one to another thinking only of themselves.

Why does God hate divorce? because it is symbolic of breaking the union with Him.

The entire Bible must be viewed through the fact that everything that does not point to a relationship with God is bad, and everything that does point to the right relationship with him is good.

Now don't think that God is egocentric. What I mean is, don't think that if it doesn't point to God, that he will be angry with you, and punish you, and send you to the Lake of Fire. God doesn't want you to worship him because he has a big head, but because it is what is good for you. It is you that he considers when he establishes everything that he does. God wants you to worship him because he is good and is worthy of your worship. If you don't value his goodness then the problem is in you. God is so good, that we should fall down before him and say, "O thank you for being so good Father. O how I wish I were more like you."

Jesus Christ is Jehovah

Another common misunderstanding of the Bible concerns the Old Testament's view of killing people who do not obey God. This confusion has led people to think that Jesus Christ is not the God of the Old Testament, because they appear so different. Jesus is in fact Jehovah of the Old Testament. Look at this Scripture:

Luke 4:16-21

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. (NIV84)

Now it is curious a thing that Jesus stopped there, and said that this was fulfilled, because if he had finished the sentence he would have said:

Isaiah 61:2

...and the day of vengeance of our God... (NIV84)

The same person (Jesus) who fulfills the first part also fulfills the second. The day of vengeance, by the way, is the day of the Lord, that is, the day of God's wrath as revealed in the book of Revelation.

My point is that Jesus is Jehovah, Jesus is what God would look like if he became a human being and lived on the earth, Jesus is what the perfect man would look like, and Jesus is what we should look like. But God has a day of vengeance waiting and it will come to pass. Today we are living in the time of grace. This is the time when God has chosen not to destroy the earth for its evil.

When the day of vengeance comes, the wicked will be purged from the earth. Now how is that an act of a loving and merciful God? To understand this we must go back to that same way of thinking, and that is, our life on this earth is meaningless if it doesn't lead us into a living relationship with God.

To see what I am saying please consider the world at the time of Noah.

Genesis 6:5-8

The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them." 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (NIV84)

From God's perspective everyone who died in the Flood was already dead, that is, they were not going to heaven. God could have just let them die off in the usual course of events, but what if, by removing them from the earth in some spectacular event their deaths could serve as a warning to those who were to follow. In this way millions of lives would be saved. The other way it is certain that apart from Noah, and his family, probably no one else would have ever been brought to repentance.

You see, if you live for this life, then what happened to those who perished in the flood was a tragedy, but from God's perspective they were lost already because of rebellion and their physical deaths would serve those who would take the warning and obey God and live. Remember we are talking of eternity here, living a few more years on the earth is meaningless compared to where we will live for all eternity. It is a matter of perspective. And God knows the consequences of rebellion better than anyone.

If a person views their life here as more important than their relationship with God then they will never understand the Bible. They will see God as being bloodthirsty and mean. But God is not bloodthirsty and mean.

Ezekiel 18:21-23

But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. 22 None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? (NIV84)

 

Ezekiel 33:10-1

Son of man, say to the house of Israel, 'This is what you are saying: "Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?"' 11 Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?' (NIV84)

This simple fact must be understood; if you do not seek God and obey him you will be lost.

Proverbs 8:17

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. (NIV84)

The Real McCoy

By seeking God you must be seeking the real him and not what you think is him. If you are not seeking the God of all love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then you are seeking a different spirit, (see Galatians 5:22-23.)

Jeremiah 9:23-24

This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of he strength or the rich man boast of his riches,

24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. (NIV84)

Is it Real?

To understand the Bible you need also be able to know when to treat a given passage as literal or symbolic. This is not always an easy task. If a passage can be treated as literal then it should be understood as such, but all literal passages have spiritual truth, or understanding behind them, and you should endeavor to understand this as well.

For example:

Exodus 14:15-31

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen."

19 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

23 The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh's horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. 24 During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. 25 He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, "Let's get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt."

26 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen." 27 Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. 28 The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen--the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.

29 But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. 30 That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. 31 And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. (NIV84)

Now this passage should be understood as a literal event. Did Moses stretch out his hand? Yes. Did Israel pass through the waters? Yes. Etc. Etc. But you should also ask, "Why did God do it that way?" God could have had all the Israelites flap their arms and fly over the water, but he didn't. So why did he do it the way he did?

1 Corinthians 10:2

They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. (NIV84)

So we see that Moses is a type of Christ, that is, he was sent from God to deliver God's people from slavery to the world, and that the passing through the Red Sea was symbolic of the baptism that the Christian goes through when they escape the bondage of the world and enter into Christ. Moses took the Israelites through the waters of baptism on to the Promised Land, which is symbolic for heaven, (but because of sin they did not get there.) Noah's flood also is symbolic of baptism, (see 1 Peter 3:21.)

There is a spiritual story behind every event in the Old Testament and you should try to understand the real meaning behind what happened.

Some passages are purely symbolic and have only the spiritual meaning behind them. The symbolic passages usually contain words like "looks like," or "sounds like," or they are called a sign, and some passages are purely imagery.

Revelation 12:1-6

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with a iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. (NIV84)

Now, in this example we are told that it is a sign, so we know that much of it is symbolic. The woman for example in not a literal woman, but the faithful in Israel. The sun and moon are symbolic for God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son of God. All of the numbers should be taken literally. From other places in Scripture we see that stars are symbolic of angels, so we then can see that the dragon swept a third of the angels to the earth. The dragon is later in this chapter identified as Satan. The male child is Jesus Christ. Anyway this is a good of example of a mostly symbolic passage. These types of passages require that you know a lot of Scripture before you can begin to understand them. Many people take this type of passage and build it into the goofiest ideas, ideas that do not agree with other non-figurative passages. Please don't try to understand the above passage from my brief description. I only included it for illustration purposes.

The Bible is Exactly what God Wanted.

Something else of great importance regarding the Bible is that there is nothing arbitrary about what took place. Everything in the Bible is exactly what God wanted--everything. This is important because we can know from this that there is a spiritual reason behind everything that occurs. It is important to know that God did orchestrate all of the events, because it explains why it is such a ridiculous story. I mean you have to admit that Jonah getting swallowed up by a big old fish, and staying alive for three days, and then getting vomited up to dry land is pretty weird stuff. I mean what are the odds? Huh?

This is exactly my point. God made it unbelievable on purpose. He did it so that those who love him can read it and learn from the spiritual meaning behind the story, and those who are rebellious will laugh at it, and think that it's the stupidest story they ever heard. The truth is hidden in plain sight.

1 Corinthians 1:18-19

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. (NIV84)

The Bible is not a Law Book

The Bible is not a list of rules that you are to obey. We are not to obey the literal words, but the Spirit behind the words. This is a hard concept for some to understand. The Bible, more than anything else, is a revelation of God. It is intended to allow us to meet God, so that we can come to love him thorough it. For more information on this you may want to read my paper titled, "What is the Bible."

Your goal should be to read the Bible and to come to know Jesus Christ, and then to conform yourself to be like him. Jesus said that if you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and if you love your fellow man like yourself, that you will be doing everything required of you by God.

Please let me give you an example: Under the Law a person who has committed adultery was to be stoned to death, but look at this:

Matthew 1:18-20

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. (NIV84)

Joseph thought that Mary was guilty of adultery, and he knew the law's requirement, but it says here that because he was a righteous man he did not want to expose her to public disgrace. The law of love supersedes the written law.

If a person, who does not really know the Lord, was an avid Bible reader, they might think that by condemning the adulterer that they would be obeying God's Word, but they would not be. The person, who reads the Bible in order to know the Holy One, and to become like him, would try to lead the guilty person back to the path that leads to God. That person would love the adulterer and seek to save them, while hating the adultery.

Conclusion:

The Bible is not what it looks like. It is not simply words on paper. The Holy Spirit is actively working in the lives of any and all that are seeking him. We cannot ignore this dynamic aspect of reading and understanding the Holy Scriptures. As we seek the true God, the one who is Love, he reveals himself in your heart and in your mind. This happens when reading the Bible, and when praying, and when obeying the promptings of our heart. Endless hours of reading the Scriptures is totally unproductive if you are reading only to fortify what you already hold to be true. You must allow the Scriptures to paint into your heart what they will. You must be open to receiving the Truth from God. People today are primarily taught religion from other people, and are not allowing God to reveal himself to them through their personal seeking of him. I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking God through reading the Scriptures yourself, and that with an open mind. Read what they say. Ask God, "What does this mean?" "Why did you have them do that, Lord?"

John 5:33-44

You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

36 "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

41 "I do not accept praise from men, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? (NIV84)

We have come full circle my friends. The main body of believers today has become just like the Pharisees and Sadducees of old. They teach from tradition and from human reasoning, and do not know the living God. They think that the Bible is a rulebook, which must be read and obeyed. They do not know the One who is the living incarnation of the written word.

Jude 17-23

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear--hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (NIV84)

So, my friends, I am asking you to seek God personally. I am asking you to step outside the comfort of the group, and seek to please God alone. I am asking you to pray that God open the eyes of your understanding, and then purposely read the Bible, and receive just what it says, not more and not less. What I mean is, if it is saying something that you have been told is not true, then go with what you see in the Scriptures, and not with what you have been told. Remember the example of Joseph and Mary, that I gave earlier; things are not a matter of reading and obeying, but of becoming like Christ, and living to please God. If you are truly a Christian, then you don't need anyone to teach you; you have the Teacher living inside you, if you really are a Christian.

1 John 2:26-27

I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him. (NIV84)

I have been criticized for saying that you don't need a teacher and yet teaching, but I am not the one who wrote 1 John 2:26-27 and also placed into the body apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. You must decide if God has called me and equipped me for this purpose. Either I am speaking the truth to you in love or I am not.

May the Lord open the eyes of your understanding that you might behold his beauty.

 

This article can be found at SeekersTrove.com