The Word vs. words (Jordan Stumbo)
The other day I was talking to a friend of mine as I was driving through the mountains of Tennessee. We had been talking about trends in Church culture, and the future of the Apostolic movement. As we were bouncing ideas off of each other, he looked at a particular building and said, "That is a sinful place..." Of course he was right in his observation, but not wanting to leave it at that, I asked, "Why?" That's a simple enough question, right? Yet the only response I got at first was a blank stare, and then it happened, "Because the Bible says so."
We've all said it, faced with a question that we didn't have the answer for. Our minds race furiously, our palms begin to sweat, we furtively look at others to see if they are going to step in and save us, and then a salvation comes to our minds, the Bible, and before we know it an answer is spilling forth from our mouth from wince we know not. By the time the words "...says so..." are coming out, we realize we have no idea where, in the Bible, our answer is.
When we witness or discuss the Bible with others it is imperative that we know what we are talking about. Yes, it sounds basic, yet there are thousands of Apostolics that have never marked anything in their Bible outside of Acts 2. They view the rest of the Bible as a dark jungle, littered with incomprehensible jargon that will never be understood. It's time that we actually become the people of the Word, not hype, not emotionalism, and most definitely not the people of vague answers from some vague Holy Book.
Ministers all over the world are beginning to look outside the Word of God for answers. They look to self-help gurus to replace the Author and Finisher of our Faith. Many have forsaken the Bible because they say it is not relevant any more, and they turn themselves and those that they are responsible for, into a watered-down, luke-warm, sorry excuse for a Christian. They are effectively punching holes in their life raft in a storm of post-modern philosophies. We wonder why these men and women are choosing this life without the Word of God, and the answer is simple: they never actually took the time to Read and Love the Bible. Some would say the only way to overcome this new idea is to try to synthesize truth with relevant teachings, but you cannot combat a philosophy like the emergent church with another philosophy only with the Word of God will you overcome.
Christians will make excuses not to read the Bible, arguing that it is just too difficult, and that we need to have a constant process of simplifying the Bible to make it more understandable. The Church doesn't need a simpler format or a new translation for people to understand the Bible. Only in the past few hundred years was the Bible even translated into other languages, and people that wanted to read the Word didn't wait for an easier to comprehend translation, they learned Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin just to be able to read the Bible! That is called passion for the Truth. If a person has a love for Scripture, it wouldn't matter if the only copy they owned was in Mandarin Chinese, they would learn it just to be fed by the Word. We do not need to wait for someone to break the Word of God down for us into easier to comprehend soundbites, but we need to train ourselves not only to read, but to COMPREHEND the Bible, and once comprehension is introduced, application can begin.
So to bring this all together, before you begin to form a belief on a particular subject of faith, ask yourself if it is found in Scripture, and the only way to know if it is found in Scripture is to READ Scripture. A few subjects to look for and study are:
- The Oneness of the Godhead
- Holiness (inward and outward)
- Application of Grace
- Freewill of Humanity
- How Salvation can be lost
This is not a comprehensive list of subjects found in the Bible by any means, but it is a foundation. It is good not to limit yourself to knowing only one portion of Scripture for each of these subjects, but it is good to memorize as many as possible to get a well rounded knowledge of the Word. We need to commit to loving the Bible and if we don't understand we need to ask God for understanding. Paul said in Gal. 1:8 that if anyone were to preach another gospel different from what the apostles had already preached, they would be accursed. If we don't know what has been written in the Bible how can we safely preach it? If we do not read Scripture, how will we know if it is life changing or not? If you are a minister that feels that the Word of God holds nothing relevant for you or our generation, then you are surely an irrelevant minister, because the Bible I have is full of Truth for our us, our children, and all that afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. So get into the Bible and find something life-changing.
May God bless you