2000-05-09 - If You Give Up The Right To Remain Stupid

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

A Massachusetts man, arrested for driving without a license, used his one phone call to tell a friend exactly where to find his stash of crack cocaine, hidden in an alley. Hipolito Vega spoke to his friend in Spanish, not realizing that the booking officer, Manuel Rivera, understood every word.

Understanding the Bible is one of the greatest challenges to the Christian. Take any verse and there is an entire theological tradition, make that two, well three, well who knows how many interpretations there are for one verse...any verse … in the Bible. So how do we know how to understand scripture? So often it seems like a foreign language. I would like to suggest three things that can help us gain an understanding of Scripture.

  1. Nothing in the Bible will be understood without the illumination of the Holy Spirit. This is the foundational principal without which none of the other below would matter. A great passage on this is 1 Corinthians 2:10-14, and while it is a little long to quote here, the basic understanding of the passage is that God reveals things to us through the Spirit, who knows us and who is sent from God to teach us all things.

  2. Another way to gain an understanding of the Scriptures is to search them. John 5:39, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me." Searching the Scriptures for the meaning of the Scriptures is a great way to gain an understanding of the Scriptures. It the principal that I have mentioned before, "Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture." Thus, we ought to be diligent to search the Scriptures in order to understand them.

  3. A third way (this is not an exhaustive list) to understand the Scriptures is to seek out the fellowship of others in our journey to understanding. This is the function of the small group Bible study, when 5-20 or so people get together and study a passage of Scripture. This is apparently what the Berean Christians were doing in Acts 17:10-12. They would take what Paul and Silas said and examine the Scriptures to see if what they were saying was true.

It is true that there are many differing ways to look at Biblical passages. It can become discouraging when the same verses are said, by those who are well learned, to say things that seem contradictory. But we need not be discouraged, because we have the Spirit to guide us, we have the rest of the Bible to instruct us, and we have each other to sharpen our skills of understanding. These among the many other tools toward understanding should be a great comfort to us. And they should motivate us to seek to know and comprehend this wonderful revelation that God has given us.

"I study my Bible as I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest may fall. Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb I shake each branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf." Martin Luther

Soli Deo Gloria,