Monday, April 30, 2007

Do YOU know your Bible?

I was reading an article about religion and the author of that article stated some disturbing facts. You can read the article here. "Only one-half of us" it is stated, "can name one of the four gospels of the New Testament." And if that is not bad enough, "[o]nly a third can identify who delivered the Sermon on the Mount." I do not have any statistics but I think it would be fair to say that the numbers for Southern Baptists and other denominations in particular would be higher than that of the general population. I hope that is not just wishful thinking.

Consider this. I was afforded the opportunity a short time ago to witness to two Jehovah's Witnesses that came to "witness to me". She proceeded to show me something from her Bible and I was going to use hers to refute her statement but I could not find it in her Bible. I told her to please wait, I was going to get my own Bible. I returned and our informal debate began. Mind you now, I had not told them I was a preacher. For thirty minutes, point by point, I refuted their witness with Scripture. They would try to make a point and I would show them other Scriptures that they could not twist. Finally, one of the ladies looked at me and said, "are you a preacher?" I responded that I was. She told me that I really knew my Bible well. But it was her next statement that bothered me. She went on to say that most of the other pastors they had spoken with must focus more on the social aspect of ministry because they did not know the Scriptures very well.

Now, I'll grant you that the typical person on the street would not know the Scriptures like a pastor ought to know them. The "typical person" is without excuse though because the Bible is so readily available. Multiple copies can be found in many homes but the problem is that they are so seldom read. It is another thing for a pastor to not be able to defend his faith from the Scriptures. Are we spending so much time reading anything and everything else that have no time to read the Bible? Should we not be spending so much time reading the Bible that we have little time to read other works instead? And no, I do not consider reading Gill, Spurgeon, Calvin, Stanley and others on the same level as reading the Scriptures for one's self. How often I have seen on blogs someone asked what they believe and they respond with, go read this person. What? Can you not give an answer? Do you not know what YOU believe?

My conclusion is that the general population spends either all of its time reading ABOUT the Bible or it spends its time reading something OTHER than the Bible. My brothers and sisters, this certainly ought not be true of us!

II Timothy 2:15-16 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.


A Bible Student said...

Interesting read - and the news article was sobering also. But given the times and what the scriptures say about'm (and false prophets)it is realistic...

No one should try to twist the scriptures but what can help when it comes to subjects is looking at the original Greek or Hebrew language for the direct meanings and as well the context of a scripture text. It is commendable that you were able to get your own Bible and check things out - one should do a thorough investigation before speaking to others...

However no one is a walking encyclopedia! The benefits I see from the discussion is that it should have sharpened all of you to be on your toes - not to win arguments, but to win hearts ;^)

Luke said...

Bible student,
Thank you for stopping by. The events of the last days has prompted me to go back to the Greek and "brush up" on my teaching. However, pulling out the Greek may have been so intimidating to them that they would not have listened to what I had to say. Believe it or not, their reply to me was that they did not know about Ephesians 2:8-10. One of them actually admitted at that Scripture that she saw "Faith", not "works" as being the path of Salvation. I was trying to win their hearts. I must admit that upon seeing them come into the drive-way frustrated me at first. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me that I had been praying for someone to share the Gospel with and after my heart was prepared, I really wanted to see them know Jesus like I do.

I'm diligently trying to learn fully that the greatest benefit of knowing and studying Scripture is not being able to win a debate, but rather getting to know Jesus more intimately.


matt said...

Hi, I am a JW and we believe that faith does lead to salvation. However the scriptures do make it clear that fatih must lead to works or the faith is useless "The demons believe and shudder..." "faith without works is dead." The two are inseperable. Salvation is God's free gift but it must be put to use. Somone could give me a car, but I have to drive it to get use of it.

Luke said...

I really do appreciate the fact that you took the time to respond.

You said,"faith does lead to salvation". To which statement for a clear delineation I add, faith "ALONE" leads to salvation.

You said, "Salvation is God's free gift but it must be put to use."
Putting it to use, as in doing good works, does not save you. Salvation is God's free gift apart from works.

I will readily admit that true saving faith necessarily produces works/fruit. A christian without fruit/works is like an orange tree without oranges. But make no mistake, fruit is the evidence of salvation, not the root of salvation.

All that being said, it is important to note the object of our faith. Faith in what? Faith in whom? Saving faith is that faith which is in Jesus Christ alone, the only begotten of the Father. Jesus said that "he that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit". It is not knowing about Jesus that brings fruit, it is abiding in Jesus. We bear fruit because we are "in" Jesus, not because we know about him. "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." Paul wrote to the Galatians, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Faith alone in Christ alone is Salvation.


selahV said...

LUKE: super post. Like your comments, too. I focused on an amazing verse that sums up the works part of salvation to me in Philippians 2:13. "for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good purpose." I posted on that just yesterday evening. Amazing how that is sometimes with the Lord's people, isn't it? selahV

Luke said...

In Sunday School rhetoric, I would say, "I take the blame for the bad, give God the credit for the good." Now while I have no problem giving God the credit for the good, I sooooo struggle with taking credit for the bad in a sincere way. But I trust that God will continue to work His work in me until He conforms me into the vessel He desires of me. By the way, I see you are a rose lover too. I'm presently waiting for my "Tiffany" and "Mr. Lincoln" to bloom. I'm getting anxious and am having to practice patience, but I am so excited to see what they'll do.