I have devoted my life to the study of the Scriptures and my experience has taught me a few things I would like to share with you.
Someone once observed that “he who has long pondered over a train of Reasoning, becomes unable to detect its weak points.” This is true in cases where students prefer to “settle” on a certain line of thinking instead of being perpetual Bible students searching for truth. Most settle because their interpretations find approval among a certain sect, still others because they are financially locked into a certain line of teaching and to change would cost them a paycheck or book sales, some are simply lazy preferring socialistic spiritually which feeds on the handouts of their spiritual masters (favorite “teachers” or “publications”), and still more because they are afraid of altering and adjusting their views for superstitious reasons based on fearful false ideas about God.
These settlers lost the pioneering spirit, they’ve forgotten the Biblical work-ethic. They aren’t heeding Paul’s admonition to “be diligent to present thyself approved to God — a workman irreproachable, rightly dividing the word of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, YLT). Look at that verse closely.
1. Bible study requires DILIGENCE.
2. You must do it YOURSELF – God hasn’t put us on a socialistic spiritual welfare program. God’s program is the wonderful system of individual liberty and personal responsibility. If you don’t do the work yourself you won’t get anything! Paul once said that a man who refuses to work won’t eat, a principle which applies to the the bread of God, the Bible – he who refuses to study won’t learn.
3. A Bible student looks for APPROVAL from God, not from a sect or a leader of a sect.
4. A blue collar Bible student will never be REPROACHED by God. Think about what that implies with regards to negligent students.
5. A Bible student RIGHTLY DIVIDES, which means he knows the Bible, in context, cover to cover, and puts things in their right places. The student doesn’t use Scripture indiscriminately or loosely.
Without this blue-collar ethic the settler will construe every verse of the Bible to conform to their party line. They become incapable of opening their eyes to the untrustworthiness of the fabric they’ve erected, even if it is proven, right before their very eyes, to be “like a child’s house built with playing-cards, and presents to every eye BUT THEIR OWN the appearance of a shapeless ruin.” But beloved, I am persuaded of better things concerning us.
I have discovered that an honest Bible student, if truly interested in pursuing truth wherever it leads, will go through a continuous three-phase cycle in this pursuit:
Discovery is that “ah ha” moment when you come across a new truth. This is a dangerous time, however. Too many mistake the thrill of the moment for substance. The discovery must go through phase two, it must be proved. Criticism is the thought process that examines a discovery and looks for its beauties or defects. Many “ah ha” moments, though thrilling at first, when they are examined in the quietness of mature meditation, of rumination, in combination with consistent perusal of the Sacred Volume, are found to have been inaccurate and in need of adjustment – of reconstruction.
Treat new discoveries as a working theory. Subject that discovery to criticism. Most importantly, be willing to reconstruct that working theory to align with truth.
“Be careful for nothing,” says Paul, including your growth in the knowledge of God’s Word.