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UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE
You don't even have to be able to read to understand the Bible. Two things are required: To be born again and to have an earnest desire to seek him (Heb. 11:6). God knows your heart and knows if you are serious. If you are, then he will reveal himself. To be born again means you have God's Spirit in you. It is God's Spirit that reveals the meaning of the Scriptures (1 Cor. 2:12-14). Arguments about translations are meaningless because the issue is not what the Bible says, but what it means, as revealed to you by the Holy Spirit. All the legitimate translations out there are good translations. The one that is right for you, is the one you will read.
The Holy Spirit is also known as the Spirit of truth (John 14:17, 1 John 4:6). Truth is found in the Word of God. Jesus said that God's Word is truth (John 17:17). The Holy Spirit's job is to lead us into all truth (John 16:13). Not just some truth, but all truth. If it is God's intent (which it is) for us to know the truth, then it can't be that hard to find. The issue is: Are you ready for it? Do you have an earnest desire for it?
God wants us to know the truth, because the truth sets us free (John 8:32). What we are being set free from ultimately, is the sin of unbelief. What we don't know, but what God knows, is how much we don't believe. God has told us to trust him with all our heart and not lean unto our own understanding. What we have done most of our lives, and even do as Christians, is to lean unto our own understanding. God is working in our lives to set us free from this. In other words, we are learning more and more what it means to believe in him. We are learning more and more what it means to put trust in him and not in ourselves anymore.
I said at the beginning that you don't even have to be able to read to understand the Bible. Because we have the Spirit of truth in us, when we hear the truth put forth, we receive it. What we won't receive is error put forth. The Spirit in us works like a bank teller works at a bank. The teller views and handles legitimate bills all day long. But the second a counterfeit comes across her desk, she spots it immediately. She dosen't even have to spend time studying counterfeit bills. All she has to do is become familiar enough with the real bills. The Spirit of truth in us works the same way. Because we are familiar with truth, the second we hear error, we can spot it immediately.
How many of us have sat in a congregation and heard words coming from the pulpit that don't ring true? They don't sound quite right because God has revealed to you in the Scriptures something different. I don't think that most pastors want to intentionally mislead their congregations; they have good intentions. But I do think that they are under the pressure of what their denomination's tradition teaches. Physical organized churches are not perfect, because what contitutes their very substance, is the imperfect (us). If you like your church, if you like the fellowship, stay there. Going to another church means going to another imperfect situation.
Whoever in a church is given the authority to stand up and speak are mere men like the rest of us. Whatever it is that comes out of their mouth can or cannot be the truth. That will be determined by the Spirit of truth in you. 1 John 2:27 says: 'As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit-just as it has taught you, remain in him.'
Because we are always growing as Christians; we are not going to understand everything we read in the Bible. Be patient. God will reveal the meaning when you are ready. Mark what you don't understand. Come back later down the road sometime and see if you are ready. Still, be patient. You can't understand what you are not ready for. The Bible is a book of discovery and God wants to reveal. It seems to be written in such a way like pieces of a puzzle are laid out on a table. To the earnest seeker the Holy Spirit begins to connect the pieces together as the whole picture starts to unfold. Above anythng else, before you start reading, tell the Lord; there is no way you are going to understand what you read, unless the Spirit reveals the meaning.
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