Bringing radical thoughts worth pondering (A blog of poriruachurch.com)
I suppose that all will admit that it is a man’s duty, as well as his privilege, to study the Bible. This obligation is a personal one. It is based on the principal of individual responsibility to God. Given the ability to understand the Bible, you can no more shift the responsibility of making a close study of it, than you can shift the responsibility of believing in Christ.
Our efforts to understand the Bible should be both honest and intelligent. If a person does not know how to study the Bible, it does not matter how honest he may be, he will never understand the truth. A person may be just as honest as can be, but if he does know the difference between the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Christ, he will never learn the truth. A lack of intelligent study of the Bible has caused many honest people to think they could be saved like the thief on the cross; it has caused them to think that the publican justifies the mourner’s bench. It is a failure to make an intelligent study of the Bible that causes many to think that instrumental music is right in Christian worship just because David used it. Thus, you can see that it is not enough that we make an honest study of the Bible, but our study must be an intelligent one. We must rightly divide the Bible if we study it intelligently.
Just as an honest person may fail to learn the truth because he does not make an intelligent study of the Bible, so one that Is not honest may not learn the truth even though he makes an intelligent study of it. It would be difficult to determine which is the greatest source of error today, a failure to study intelligently, or a failure to be honest in our study. Let us now notice the importance of being honest in our study.
First, there must be a sincere desire for the truth. The goal of the honest person is truth. If one does not crave the truth, he should not study the Bible. The Bible was not given to satisfy idle curiosity. The Bible was given to supply man with the knowledge that he needs to be saved. We should never lose sight of this fact. When we do, we cease to make an honest study of the Bible.
We should not study the Bible to prove others wrong. We are not honest when we have this motive in our study. This does not mean that we should not use the bible to prove others wrong, but this should not be our reason for studying the Bible. Christ was not sent to condemn, but to save. It is right to condemn error, but only as we teach the truth.
We cannot study the Bible honestly when we have a sectarian spirit. Truth alone is the goal of the honest student. He is not concerned with “our position.” My, your, and our position might be unadulterated error. The Catholics must read the Bible, if they read it, through the Pope’s eyes. The denominational world must read the Bible through the coloured glasses of human creeds. This leads men to study the Bible to try to find in it something to uphold their creed or position. When studied in this manner, it is not an honest study. Instead of searching for “our position,” let us study to find God’s position. The best attitude in which to study the Bible is to have a total disregard to what the truth shall be when I find it. The truth will satisfy God, and it ought to satisfy me.
Suppose one is not sure what baptism is, but he wishes it to be sprinkling. He can satisfy himself that it was impossible to immerse 3,000 in one day; therefore, they were sprinkled. He can satisfy himself that Paul baptised the jailor in the jail and therefore he was sprinkled. He is sure that Lydia had infants and therefore they were sprinkled. But such study is not honest. The one that studies in this manner is not interested in what God wants or the truth. Why should I care what baptism is? God is its author. He is the one to satisfy and whatever He required about it should satisfy me.
Franklin Camp, Enduring Words, Vol. 1, Issue 4, April 1982