Doug went to see his doctor. When he got there the doc had one arm and one leg in casts. Doug asked the doc, “What happened?” The doctor told him about his love for motorcycles and a nearly fatal traffic mishap. Shortly after the visit, Doug sold his car, bought a motorcycle, and wound up in a similar accident.
When Doug’s doctor found out, he said, “What’d you do that for? Didn’t you see what happened to me?” Doug responded, “Yeah, but I figured since you said it, I needed to do it.”
That’s a pretty ridiculous story. There aren’t many people who would listen to a doctor, teacher, employer, or anyone else describing something foolish and consider it as prescriptive. By the same token, there aren’t many people who would visit their doctor with an issue and be content with a mere description of the problem, regardless of how accurate or in-depth. Most of us are only willing to put up with the ridiculously long wait and all the forms because we’re hoping, in fact expecting, our doctor to actually help resolve the problem.
The first issue is taking something that’s descriptive and making it prescriptive. The second issue is anticipating something prescriptive and only getting something descriptive. The first can be dangerous - even fatal. The second, while informative, is pretty much useless.
Sadly, the same isn't true when it comes to the revelation of The Bible. Many toss all reason, logic, wisdom, prudence, and rationality out the window when reading God's Word.
The problem is that lots of people quench the Holy Spirit when they read the Bible. As Scripture reveals in 1 Tim 4:2, “These evil people cannot see what is right and what is wrong. It is like their conscience has been destroyed with a hot iron,” because they approach the Bible wrongly. They go in with preconceived notions about what it is, what they want from it, and even what the real issue is.
Many think of the Bible as a mystical tome of personal spiritual blessings and enlightenment rather than God’s inerrant Word for the redemption of Christ's Bride. We’re often quick to ignore and/or jettison the most basic and fundamental principles of Bible study. We ignore things like historical context, authorial intent, genre, and linguistics.
Many do so out of apathy. We’re quick to quip, “I’m no biblical scholar,” and even make fun of fellow Christians when they use what should be rudimentary terminology. It evidences that we’ve not actually moved on from basic teachings to mature understanding (see Hebrews 5:11-6:1).
We’ll gladly invest more time in collecting junk, leveling up in a video game, shopping on Amazon, watching reels on social media, working on our beach bods, climbing the corporate ladder, or binge watching our favorite shows over digging into God’s Word.
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were intimately familiar with Hebrew Scriptures. It was not uncommon for the average Jew to have whole passages and even whole books memorized.
Even the Samaritan woman in John 4 had a well-developed grasp of Bibleology, Hamartiology, Christology, and Ecclesiology. The Pharisees and the Samaritans had both interpretation and application all wrong. The difference was when King Jesus revealed the truth of who He was to the Samaritans, they responded by welcoming Him to stay and teach them. The Pharisees, on the other hand, responded by plotting, planning, and following through on His execution.
John 1:1-4 reveals, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.”
Jesus revealed Himself as the Word, and stated later in John 12:47-48, “As for anyone who hears My words and does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not receive My words: The Word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”
If we're honest, time isn’t the issue. Availability isn’t the issue. Accessibility isn’t the issue. Our failure to move on from basic teachings, our fascination with speculation rather than the stewardship of God’s Word, our preoccupation with the End Times rather than focusing on the ministry of The Gospel today, our misinterpreting, misapplying, and mishandling Scripture - all - have more to do with our lack of desire to actually do the job Christ has called us to rather than the Holy Spirit failing to do His.
When we approach God’s Word as He intended, with reverence, awe, receptivity, love, and a desire to see Christ glorified to the ends of the earth in us and through us, there’s no uncertainty about what God plans to accomplish: “...and on this rock I will build My church, and the Gates of Hades will not prevail against it…”
But if we approach The Word with arrogance, apathy, familiarity, contempt, and the irreverence of cracking open a fortune cookie or reading a horoscope… then all our intelligence, acumen, brilliance, wit, perception, and capacity does nothing more than seal our fates.
“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.”
-1 Cor 1:18
We are going to be held to account for what we've done with the gifts of time and privilege King Jesus has given us and what He's prescribed. The question is, are we actively and eagerly anticipating His return, or are we living as if it'll never actually happen... meanwhile busy chasing after all the pleasures and treasures of the world?
Here are a few great resources to help you study and apply your life to God’s Word:
How to Read The Bible for All Its Worth
Grace and Peace,
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