Why Study God’s Word?

 

Why Study the BibleThe apostle Paul gave the following advise to Timothy, that also applies to each of us who are called to salvation during this age of the church.

2Tim.2:15-16 KJV

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babbling, for they will increase to more ungodliness.”

Paul’s advice to rightly divide (i.e., correctly analyze) the word of truth is a major key to making sure that we are not deceived by individuals who teach false and misleading doctrines.

Before and many years after I began to attend the Worldwide Church of God I believed everything being taught by its ministry.

However, as I began to study what was taught to see if it were true or not, I found that much was true, but some of what was taught could not be validated in the biblical record.

Although some of what was taught could be disregarded because it would not adversely affect my salvation, some of what was taught if believed and practiced would.

I no longer believe everything taught by ministers who claim to be followers of Christ.

I only believe what is taught if I have already researched the subject for myself or find what is taught is taught to be true or after I research the topic for myself.

This does not mean that I will have a totally correct understanding of the subject, but it does mean that I will have done what is expected of me as far as attempting grow in spiritual knowledge and understanding.

Christ’s Warning

The following warning by Christ is recorded many times in the gospel accounts, and is extremely important for each of us who are called to salvation in this age of the church:

Matt 7:15-21 KJV

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

False prophets = NT:5578 pseudoprophetes (psyoo-dop-rof-ay’-tace); fromNT:5571 and NT:4396; a spurious prophet, which basically means a pretended fore-teller or a religious impostor

Verse 15 describes these individuals as being very deceptive and intent on destroying the elect. Verses 16 through 20 tell us that these individuals can be recognized by what they produce.

  1. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

  2. Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.

  3. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

  4. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

  5. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

In order to recognize individuals who are false prophets, counterfeit Christians, or those who teach false and misleading doctrines, we must clearly know and understand what is and is not truth.

Mark 13:22 KJV

22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

The words it were and even are not in the Greek text and give the impression that the elect cannot be deceived, which is clearly not the case.

Many of the elect today are being deceived and led astray by individuals and ministers, just as happened in past centuries.

Although some deceitful individuals are demonically possessed or highly influenced by evil spirits, some are themselves deceived and teach what they believe is truth or have been told is truth, but which is not truth.

The Apostle Peter’s Warning

2 Peter 2:1 NIV

1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves.

Are there individuals within the congregations of the elect today who are false prophets and are there those who teach false doctrines.

Absolutely there are. The question is, why are these individuals and their deceitful teachings not recognized by the elect in these congregations?

The answer is, a lack of knowledge and understanding of biblical truth. Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge

The prophet Hosea recorded the Creator’s many reprimands to Israel and the following prophetic warning, much of which clearly applies in principle to many of the elect today:

Hos 4:6 KJV

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.

destroyed = OT:1820 damah (daw-mam’); a primitive root; meaning to be dumb or silent; hence, to fail or perish; or to destroy:

for lack of = OT:1097 beliy (bel-ee’); which in the context of verse 6 means being without.

A lack of knowledge in any field of endeavor can be a major contributor to one’s poor performance or failure to perform a function or responsibility, this is especially true within the Father’s earthly family of king-priests.

How does one reject knowledge?

One of the ways to reject knowledge is to never seek it, another is to not pay attention to the clear instructions in the biblical record to diligently study and meditate on God’s word.

Clearly, we are not given perfect knowledge and understanding of all our Fathers mysteries, his laws, or exactly what he expects of us the instant we receive the holy spirit.

A short review of the apostles’ letters to the churches shows that, the acquisition of spiritual knowledge and understanding requires much time, effort, study, and prayer:

Regarding truth, King David and Solomon wrote:

Psa.1:1-2 KJV

“Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night.” See also Psa.119:15-148; 1.Tim.4: 12-16.

Psa. 119:97-99 KJV

97 O how love I your law! it is my meditation all the day. 98 You through your commandments have made me wiser than my enemies: for they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for your testimonies are my meditation.

Pro.15:28 KJV

“The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”

If we truly want to increase our knowledge and understanding of God’s word and truth, we must set aside the time to pray for spiritual knowledge and understanding, diligently study God’s word, and meditate on what we find there.

Let us review some of what the apostle Paul taught

During the travels of Paul and Silas they came to Thessalonica, where they preached Christ and salvation through his sacrifice in a Jewish synagogue to both Jews and Greeks.

Many of the Jews and Greeks believed, but many of the Jews did not, and caused an uproar in the city which forced Paul and Silas to leave and go to Berea.

Acts 17:10-12 NIV

10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

Paul and Silas taught the same things to the Bereans that they taught to the Thessalonians.

The difference between the Bereans and the Thessalonians is that, the Bereans spent the time and effort to see if what was being told them could be validated in the scriptures before they committed to a belief which would alter their life forever.

The only scriptures available at that time were the books of the law, the prophets, and the writings and these were in Hebrew, which only the most educated could read.

The book of Enoch was also available at that time and contained many prophecies about Christ.

Whether or not the Bereans also used the book of Enoch to see if Paul and Silas were telling the truth about Christ is not known.

What is clear, is that the example of the Bereans searching the scriptures is meant to show us that in order to know if someone is teaching truth we need to diligently study the scriptures for ourselves.

Thus it Is Written

The apostles and evangelists of the early church all taught the same things which could be verified in scripture, if one took the time and effort to do so.

The same is true today. However, few do this, which is evidenced by the lack of doctrinal continuity among the elect today.

One of the things the apostles and evangelist taught, which was a fulfillment of prophecy, was that, Christ said he would be sacrificed and then be resurrected the third day after his death,:

Luke records Jesus saying the following:

L.24:44-46 KJV

44 And he said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

The apostle Paul understood that the scriptures contained prophecies which set forth the time-sequence of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection and he proclaimed the fulfillment of these prophetic events as a part of his ministry:

1.Cor.15:3 Para.

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the twelve.”

According to Jesus and Paul, Christ was to die and rise the third day according to the scriptures.

Therefore, a logical question to ask is, Where is it written and where are the scriptures which state that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead the third day?

One can search the entire Old Testament looking at every reference to ‘three days’ or ‘the third day’ and not find the answer in an English translation of the Bible. Were both Jesus and Paul mistaken in their understanding of the scriptures? No they were not.

A thorough search of the prophecies concerning the Messiah will show that the only scripture which even remotely speaks of his resurrection being on the third day, or for that matter any other day, is found in the Book of Hosea:

Hos 6:1-2 KJV

1 Come, and let us return to the Lord: for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

Although this prophecy does not seem to refer to Christ and three days and nights when read in English, it does when read in Hebrew.

Note:

There is a curious thing about the Hebrew text—it was written in consonants and the vowels were added over a thousand years later.

Vowel marks or points were added to represent the pronunciation of the text as it had been passed down from generation to generation, but they are not a part of the original text.

It is important to understand that these marks or points were added in an attempt to preserve the original meaning, intent, and phonetic sound of Hebrew words.

However, adding vowel marks to some texts alters their original meaning and intent. This seems to have been the case with Hosea 6, verse 2.

The addition of these marks has hidden the original meaning and intent. If vowel marks are eliminated from the Hebrew script in Hosea 6:2 or a different mark is used on just two words, the text may be read as:

“He (i.e., God the Father) will give him life after two days: on the third day he will raise him and we will live before him.”

Because there are no other scriptures in the biblical record before the advent of Christ that even remotely speak of the Messiah’s resurrection being on the third day, it seems that Hosea’s prophecy is what is referred to by both Jesus and Paul.

Although it is very difficult today for us to understand the exact meaning of some Hebrew scriptures.

For the Bereans to search the Hebrew scriptures was not all that difficult, because those of the Levitical priesthood who became believers understood Hebrew, and could translate it into the languages of that day.

Therefore, they could easily understand scriptures such as the prophecies in Hosea 6, verse 2 and Isaiah 53:1-10 to clearly apply to Jesus’ life and the events surrounding Jesus which happened at Jerusalem and which could be easily confirmed.

The question each of us who are called to salvation during this gospel age must answer is. Do we believe everything prophets, evangelists, and ministers teach in the congregations. If we do we are foolish and subject to being deceived an led astray.

Because it is extremely important to determine if what one is being taught can be validated by the scriptures. We must set aside the time to pray for spiritual knowledge and understanding, diligently study God’s word, and meditate on what we find there.

2 Tim 3:16-17 KJV Para.

  1. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the people of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.

The holy spirit is capable of imparting knowledge, discernment, wisdom, and understanding to us.

If we rarely communicate with the Father through prayer, studies, and meditate on his word, it is a good indication that our priorities are not correct and we may find ourselves being deceived because of our lack of biblical knowledge and spiritual understanding.

No Enthusiasm

There are many clear warnings in the biblical record about doing what is expected of us as one of our heavenly Father’s earthly children. One of these is found in the Book of Revelation given to those with the Laodicean attitude and behavior:

Rev.3:15-17 KJV Para.

15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. 16 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 Because you say I am rich, and I am made rich, and I have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

These are individuals who are self-deceived into thinking they are spiritually mature and in living in harmony with their heavenly Father and their Savor, but in reality, just the opposite is true. Christ’s warning to those with a Laodicean attitude and behavior is that they still have hope of salvation if they will heed his advice.

There are many works the Father expects us to do as a member of his earthly family.

One of these works is to diligently study his word so we can clearly know and understand the difference between good and evil.

Evil can include deceptive teachings which do not conform to the Father’s laws, precepts, and principles he has established for his children to practice.

Rev.3:18-19 Para.

“I advise you to buy from Me gold having been fired by fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, and that your nakedness may not be revealed. And anoint your eyes with eye-salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, Be zealous, then, and repent.”

Notice that their hope lies in putting forth the effort it takes to gain salvation. The advice Jesus gives to anyone who has this type of attitude toward their calling, is for them to seriously work at being righteous.

It is much better to do what is expected than to have Christ attempt to save us through sever trials.

The apostle Peter gave the following warning to us:

  1. Peter 5:8 KJV

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:

  1. Peter 2:1-3 NIV

1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves.

Those of us who are given this awesome opportunity of salvation during this age must have a healthy degree of skepticism when it comes to whether or not to believe something being taught by prophets, ministers, or other individuals who claim to be of the elect.

In order to keep from being deceived and found at odds with our Father’s truth, we should diligently follow the apostle Paul’s instruction that he gave to the elect at Thessalonica:

1 Thess 5:21 KJV

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

This instruction is for each and ever one of us who are called to salvation. If we do this we will not be deceived by those who claim to teach truth but teach error and we will be on the path which leads to immortality in the Family and Kingdom of God.

Budd Cochrell
http://bibleresearch.org

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