Knowledge of Truth
Download "How to Study the Bible"
By studying the Bible we learn truth and gain a standard against which the teachings of this world can be measured and their worth evaluated; giving us the ability to accept or reject them by their adherence to a wisdom greater than our own.
Additionally, it is through Bible study that we become able to discern errors in doctrine. At the time of this writing books, music and movies dealing with Biblical themes may be purchased in any store (I write from North America, in other parts of the world this may be less true). Preachers can be seen on television or on video at any hour of the day teaching their views of God and His interaction with mankind. In the midst of all this available Christian teaching (for regardless of the author's stated motive the creative process reveals some aspects of the author's beliefs) how are Christians to become equipped to understand where the difference is between truth and lie. We often allow these teachers to form our beliefs because of the assumptions below:
Unfortunately these assumptions are not always true. Many teachers adored by Christians today are trustworthy and care more for the sheep than the shepherd. There are, however, those who are mistaken either deliberately (under demonic influence) or accidentally (from carelessness or lack of education). In either case (and therefore in every case) the teacher's teaching must be evaluated for its adherence to the Bible. Just as one prepares for a race well in advance of the event so must Christians prepare in advance to evaluate Christian teaching. This is done through prayer and Bible study. Luke, the writer of the book of Acts, actually goes so far as to praise those who evaluated the teachings of the apostle Paul himself, one of the most dedicated evangelists in history:
The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
A fourth assumption that prevents many Christians from studying the Bible is this:
There has been an ongoing trend for Christians to rely on the Church leadership as a primary source of their interpretation of the Bible. While to a certain extent this is unavoidable there is the temptation for the lay members of the Church to rely solely on the teaching of the Church leadership and to not do any Bible study of their own. We do ourselves and God a grave injustice when we begin to rely on training rather than understanding. We respect the expertise of the experts and somehow feel that their additional training and study makes them trustworthy. But such is not always the case. Many world class theologians today discount the historical reliability of the gospel accounts of Jesus and instead believe Jesus to be more of an idea than an individual. Many other men and women have formidable training in the sciences yet do not acknowledge God at all. If you are a Christian you believe in God, the creator of all that is in just six days; you believe in His Son Jesus Christ, our Saviour who is alive today as He was two thousand years ago; and you believe in and are inhabited by the Holy Spirit, a personal force no amount of "secular" science could ever prove. In so believing you are in serious disagreement with the vast majority of scholars and Nobel Prize winners today. Scholarship does not make scholars so well as does unbiased inquiry into the facts and allowing the facts to lead you to the appropriate conclusions.