Saturday, November 7, 2009
Easy Bible Study?
Yesterday I was out again doing errands in the company truck. I had the radio on and playing the local Christian station. A Chuck Swindoll broadcast was concluding a series of messages on the life of King David. At the end of the segment the listener was invited to order an audio series of teaching helps on David - twenty-four messages!
My spirit went CLUNK! Imagine any believer, new or seasoned, dedicating so much devotional time to the slant of a particular Bible teacher, and letting that one man "deliver it all". Chances are that such an effort would constitute the individual's entire devotional time for a series of weeks! Meaning no disrespect to Pastor Swindoll, or his good preaching, I must say that this is wrong. It tends toward laziness in spiritual exercise. It is like viewing the travelogue rather than making the rugged and exciting trek for one's self.
Where is the liberty of being led by the Holy Spirit in scripture? Where the preparation of prayer? Where the regimen of sifting through the knotty points of the Word for one's self? Using central reference margin, concordance (Strong's), topical Bible (Nave's)and Bible dictionary (Smith's). Where the stimulus of a good exchange with a fellow believer after the study?
I must admit that in the early days I wanted a good and simple Bible commentary at my side to give me the big picture, the over-view, the perspective on history and the common thread of redemption. For me it was a brief book by F. B. Meyer and the old "Jamieson, Fausset and Brown" volume. I was also emphatic for a couple of years about going through the Word from Genesis to Revelation, and not skipping around. This was necessary in order to lay the groundwork. But now things happen differently.
I remember that quote attributed to Smith Wigglesworth:
"Some read the Bible in Hebrew; Some in Greek; I like to read it in the Holy Ghost."
This was a man who was functionally illiterate until his new wife taught him to read with a Bible. Ever after he carried a Testament with him and never read another book or newspaper. His spiritual insight was deep and sometimes cryptic. His ministry changed thousands of lives around the world.
Today he probably would amend his statement as follows:
"Some read the Bible in Swindoll or Stanley, Jakes or Copeland, Ladies Meyer or Moore. I like to read it in the Holy Ghost."
Friends, remember after all Who was given the task of inspiring Holy Writ. Peter gives us the answer in his Second Letter:
19We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
(See our earlier post entitled, "Holy Ghost, Indweller")