Handling Different Views on Bible Truth
In this article we are going to note what is needed in order to understand and handle successfully the truth of God; and especially that which relates to the Bible, and the time in which we now live.
“The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.” Herbert Spencer
From the quotation above we find that one man recognized a very important point… All learning should lead toward more than just knowledge, or knowing about something; it should inspire us to action; and hopefully change our lives… forever.
The necessary foundation for comprehending God’s word must begin with a person seeking this kind of education, being in possession of a daily, true and living relationship with God, through faith in Christ Jesus.
Without a living experience, and the help of the Holy Spirit, the comprehension of the depths of truth may be somewhat limited. Apart from these essentials, there are 7 things needed in order to make progress in our studies:
•We must come with a desire to discern God’s perspective on truth
•Maintain an open mind
•Begin each study with prayer
•Do your best to maintain the best state of physical health possible
•Study with a sincere interest to learn
•Intelligently consider all of the evidence presented
•Study without disputing and quarreling
This may seem like a very basic approach; and if you are a seasoned student of the Scriptures, you may be wondering why such points need reviewing. Don’t people already know these things? Aren’t they obvious? It is just because they are obvious, that they are being mentioned.
People often overlook, or pass by, the obvious.
In studies relating to important spiritual matters, or eternal life, this is something we cannot afford to do. Each point has a special role to play in developing our understanding of truth, and each must be put into action, in a balanced way, in order to produce the correct results.
If I were to ask if you have an open mind, and if you pray; if you are in reasonably good health, and are interested in learning; if you study intelligently, and don’t fight and quarrel over personal thoughts and opinions people present when they discuss things; and if you have a sincere desire to understand God’s truth… I’m sure that you would probably answer yes to most, or all, of the above.
We must realize, of course, that God has ways to test our sincerity in these areas… Test? “Why test,” you may ask? “There’s no need for that… I am a believer, and I love God, and His truth… .”
Nevertheless, to prove our profession, you can be sure He will run a check to see if things are the same as we say. God has always used truth to test His people.
From Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, unto the present; and even until the close of time, the Lord has brought, and will bring, mankind face to face with His word to see what they will do with it.
To reveal the spirit with which it is received, and to see how it will be acted upon. Will it be welcomed or rejected?
The understanding we obtain, and the decisions we make in our studies may well determine the difference between eternal life or eternal loss.
In recent years, the attention of many Christians, has been drawn, in one way or another, to warnings associated with doctrinal errors and deceptions, especially in some sensitive areas relating to the plan of salvation and interpretations of Bible prophecy.
These warnings are not in any way to be carelessly overlooked or ignored. But, sometimes I think people know more about the dangers associated with false teachings than they know about truth.
Persons visiting churches, desiring to learn and present their thoughts and questions relating to the Scriptures have at times been rejected, even without being fully heard, because they weren’t members of the group, or perhaps shared ideas that were not understood.
And even some church members have had similar problems. Differing viewpoints may be critically questioned and judged, because what was presented did not harmonize with what had been previously presented within their denominational fellowship.
If the Lord Himself wanted to give more light to His people than they now have, how would it be possible even for Him to do so, with such a closed door policy?
Many are gripped with fear if a doctrinal point is mentioned or discussed, that hasn’t had an official seal of approval previously placed on it by their church. Many talk more about wolves coming in among them, than light coming in; and yet light is just the thing that is needed.
Some people want everything they believe to filter down to them from the top in their organization, and if it doesn’t come in just the way they’re accustomed to, they tend to close their eyes, and ears, without even stopping long enough to see if perhaps it might be Jesus and the Holy Spirit seeking entrance to enlighten them.
I’m not suggesting that sincere efforts to keep a clear distinction between between truth and error be overlooked. God’s word must be safeguarded. And, having said that, I also believe that the top people look to for all of their understanding along spiritual lines needs to be higher than the roof of their Conference buildings, or their minister’s pulpit.
If we fail to see beyond these things, we may find ourselves leaning on arms that cannot sustain us in the greater tests and trials that are just ahead.
And so… God sometimes allows tests to see if we will allow Him to reveal more than has been previously known.
Many respected denominational pioneers, with all of the zeal and sacrifices they made, at times in their experience failed this test.
We who are living in these last days of this earth’s history must do better than those who searched for truth before us.
Jesus said to his disciples:
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. John 16:12
We need to learn how to let the Lord help us understand the Scriptures so we can know more fully not only what to believe, but why we believe.
Winston Churchill once said: Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.
As Christians, we don’t want to be found controverting, questioning, criticizing, ridiculing, and refusing to admit solid Scriptural evidence when it is presented. To do so is against the principles of God, truth, and knowledge… as well as wisdom, and often just good common sense.
The following reference offers an excellent guideline to keep in mind:
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21
When you decide to examine, or look more closely, at an issue relating to the Bible, or specific Christian doctrines, (perhaps a point that you never considered before) it doesn’t mean that you must automatically adopt that point as an unchangeable truth. It might be true, and it might not.
The weight of evidence, after your own prayerful, in-depth, study of the Scriptures should help you in making this determination.
Perhaps there is before you a question that prior to this time you have not thought to address. Before becoming overly alarmed, or defensive, consider this insight from Tennessee Williams… He said:
“It’s an unanswered question, but let us still believe in the dignity and importance of the question.”
There are still many doctrinal questions which divide members in the Christian community… and so there certainly is still more Bible truth yet to be clearly understood.
We will continue learning about these things even through eternity.
Truth can afford to be fair; it has nothing to lose; and if we are of the truth, we can afford to be fair with one another in the study of truth also.
This is a much needed education which can lead to good decisions and actions; and a true understanding of God and His will.
May He open minds and hearts to receive whatever light He chooses to send… through whomever He chooses to send it, both now and always, is my prayer.
This article was written by Chris Teske
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