Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)
TITLE: Reading Vs. Studying The Bible
By Doug Laird
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The Great Commission identifies the external and internal battlefields of spiritual warfare that the Church is to engage in during the Church Age (Eph. 6: 12).
The Church Age began at Pentecost and will terminate the Day of the Rapture. The Church, as the bride of Christ, will continue on for all of eternity, but its present mission here on Earth will be fulfilled upon the completion of the first half (spreading the Gospel) of its Commission (Matt.24: 14). The second half of the mission (making disciples) will continue on for all of Eternity, as there will never be a time that we know all that God knows.
The second half of these marching orders, making disciples, must be understood in light of the original language that God the Holy Spirit used when He inspired the human authors of the passage(s).
“Mathetes” is the Greek word in the original manuscripts that has been translated “disciple” in the English translations of the Bible. To be a “mathetes” means to be technical student in a teacher-pupil relationship.
In the spiritual realm, the ONLY textbook is the Word of God.
Every born again believer is a Christian, but not all Christians are “disciples”. In fact, just as only the minority of each generation of Man on a global scale is born again, only the minorities of those who are born again enter into or remain in discipleship very long.
Discipleship has NOTHING to do with retaining one’s salvation, but has EVERYTHING to do with glorifying God in the post salvation spiritual life. Because glorifying God is the primary purpose that the human race was created, the execution of the post salvation spiritual life is what gives purpose, meaning, and definition to a Christian’s post salvation life here on Earth.
Reading, as opposed to “studying” the Bible, will NOT produce the same end results. Receiving one’s spiritual guidance from a Biblically unprepared pastor-teacher, or one who promotes “religion” as opposed to spirituality, will not produce the same results.
A person is saved (from the wrath of God) and is born again (spiritually) when he/she BELIEVES in the Person (who He is) and the Works (spiritual death He suffered while alive on the cross) of the Lord Jesus Christ.
No amount of Biblical knowledge can add to the status of one’s salvation, and the lack of Biblical knowledge (other than an understanding of the Gospel Message) cannot prevent anyone from being saved or diminish the salvation he/she has received in faith.
There are many individuals who “read” and can accurately “quote” many verses of Scripture, yet believe and promote false doctrines.
There are “religious” organizations who claim to use the Bible as their source of instruction, but deny such elementary principles as the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ and eternal security.
The religious beliefs and rituals of many of those who claim to be Christians are based on what the Bible has to say, plus or minus what their chosen denomination has chosen to add to or to take from it in the course of their history.
The only way for anyone to be able to distinguish spirituality from religion is learn what the Bible actually teaches and then dismiss any other teaching or ritual as the product of religion.
If the Bible is going to serve its intended purpose, it must not be “read”, but rather, it must be “studied” on and applied on a daily basis.
To be teachable in the spiritual realm, the mathetes must be filled (under the control of) with God the Holy Spirit. All Christians are forever “indwelled” by God the Holy Spirit as of the moment of their salvation, but in order to be in fellowship and thereby have the enabling power of the Spirit to function in the spiritual realm, all known sins must be confessed (John 15: 5/1John 1:9).
The Bible must not just be read, it has to be studied by applying the principles of isagogics (historical background), by comparing ALL verses that address any given issue, and exegesis of the languages of the original transcripts.
This is the primary responsibility and function of the pastor teacher, but a well taught “mathetes” would develop the discernment of the Bereans of Acts 17: 11 as well.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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