2014-08-25 - Grammar Lesson
All my life, I have been a grammar nerd; one of the gifts God provided to me, is the ability to instinctively spot a poorly-structured sentence or a misspelling. Throughout college, my professors would ask me to help proof my fellow students' composition drafts, as well as tutor them - in both Advanced English Composition and Advanced French Composition classes. I often cringe at the grammar in advertisements, e-mails and even in newspapers; it is second nature to me, to mentally correct grammar and spelling miscues - even in church when my wonderful pastor is speaking!
I had an eye-opening experience, when I was reading Australian and New Zealand news online, to try to keep up with MH370 news (Please don't forget those still missing, on the lost plane, and please continue to pray for their grieving loved ones.) I would see something that just looked wrong to me, but it was not. In those countries, some words are spelled differently than in the U.S. It's the Labour Party, not the LabOr Party. Earthquakes have epicentres, not epicenters. One recognises someone, instead of recognizing them. So what looks wrong to my American eyes, is not wrong in those cases. If you don't know the language, you can't discern what is right or wrong.
Likewise, if we don't know the Bible "inside and out," we can't discern what is sinful. There is a sometimes a stunning lack of knowledge of the Bible, even among Christians. A recent Barna poll found that 82% of Christians surveyed, thought that "God helps those who help themselves" is in the Bible. And even more seriously, many Christians are unfamiliar with what the Bible says about common sin-related issues. I don't mean people who are making excuses for their behavior; I am referring to those who sincerely don't understand that something is wrong. For example, there are many believers who are living with their boyfriends/girlfriends without the benefit of marriage, and they reason that "since no one is being hurt," there is nothing wrong with it. But that's not what the Bible says.
It's no wonder, that so many Christians make such poor decisions, since they don't have a good grounding in God's word. It's impossible to know what God would want us to do in a given situation, if we don't know what the Bible says about it. All of us need to study God's word. And while Biblical preaching is vital, it's also important for us all to be involved in private Bible study.
As Paul wrote in Acts 17:11, Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
Janice P. Moser
All scripture references are from the NASB unless otherwise noted.