Understanding God’s Word

reading bible

It’s interesting the number of times people in my life have discounted the Bible.

Once, a man I am close to argued, “But a human man wrote the bible, which means it can be wrong.” Another person said, “How do you know which bible to read? They’re all so different.” And, yet another stated, “I took a theology class in college that discounted the bible and other stuff behind Christianity.”

Whoa. This is some heavy stuff. So, why didn’t their arguments drive me away from reading the Bible?

My first and only argument for people who present these issues is: Have you done any research?

I’m a college professor who teaches research writing and asks students to defend their ideas with credible source information. Without defense, an argument is empty, and I know far too many people walking around blindly believing empty arguments.

Students of mine ask, “Is there such thing as global warming?” I say, “Did you do your research?” Why would you take my word over digging for truth that can produce facts?

When people I know ask, “How do you know the Bible is real?” I say, “I’ve done my research.”

A terrific book I picked up to better understand the Bible is called, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart (2003). Written by seminary professors, it reveals why people ask whether the bible is real, it offers guidelines on how to understand the texts of the bible, and it gives loads of credible background of the biblical texts.

In other words, this book helped me understand more about the Bible, it’s parts, it’s writers, and why I should read it, and there are many books like this one.

However, it didn’t quite help me understand what I was reading when I read the Bible.

The writer of Ephesians, Paul, tells the Ephesians that he wants them to truly know Christ “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that [they] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

Those two words, “surpasses knowledge,” are not little words, especially in the context of God and His Word. Sure, you can know a bunch about lots of stuff, even the Bible.

However, you can never truly know God or really understand His Word unless you take the steps in developing a relationship with Him. Once that occurs, and many Christians attest to this, suddenly we begin to know. When God shows up in your life, you will never, ever, ever question the Bible’s authenticity again.

God tells us in His word, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

A person who knows God has sought God. It’s through the seeking that one is doing the research.

As was the case with Paul who wrote much of the New Testament, and many others past and present, “…immediately something like scales fell from his eyes” because the Truth was revealed (Acts 9:18).

Only God can remove the scales, giving us the ability to understand His Word. Paul became able to understand the Truth of God’s Word, where he once was blind and unable.

What I learned through seeking that relationship is that God loves us all immensely, and, through His Word, He wants us to actually know Him.

If you don’t believe me, just try it. Seek God. I mean really look for Him. Ask Him to come into your life and to remove the scales from your eyes. Make time to get to know Him, and to read the bible. He will reveal Himself to you through His Word.

God is within easy reach of us all; we just have to do a little research.

Cheryl Hancock, Ph.D.
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