Recently, I was in a conversation with a young man about a minor Biblical point of history of which he was a staunch proponent. When asked to articulate his stance, I realized that he knew what the particular issue had become, but could not explain the basis of it. He also didn’t know that the origin of the instance had little to do with what it had become. He was very surprised that the actual root of the issue was not what he had been taught. During our conversation, there were other issues brought forth in which he simply repeated what he had been told by others. In the course of the conversation, I cautioned him that while the issue would not be one that would cause a parting of ways, it would certainly have some impact on our interaction. But, most importantly, he needed to know what he believed.
What do you believe? Do you really know what you believe? Or, do you simply repeat what your pastor, or some other teacher, has taught you?
I recently read a book about extra-Biblical practices of the church. While I do not recommend the book, it reminded me of the need to know what one knows. Now, I am not inferring that we should eliminate all extra-Biblical practices, for many are worthwhile. I want to be clear that I am simply stating that one should know what they claim to know. Can you Biblically describe repentance? What about baptism? Can you prove that speaking in tongues is the Biblical evidence of someone receiving the Holy Ghost?
For several hundreds of years, many Christians sincerely believed the pagan concept of a flat earth, and anyone who disagreed was often severely persecuted. Today, we clearly see the fallacy of this belief. Had they simply studied the book of Isaiah, the proponents of the flat-earth theory would have realized it, too. Isaiah 40:22 says, “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth …” There are many “scientific discoveries” that were described in the Bible long before some scientist discovered them. Why did this happen? It was simply because the Christians did not know what they claimed to know.
Do you know what you believe? Or, are you going through life like the countless multitudes, in the Middle Ages, who simply followed what the priest told them? You may be thinking, “No one could convince me to purchase an indulgence.” Are you sure?
Matthew 24:24 (KJV) “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
You may be asking, “How do I acquire a good basis of Bible knowledge?” Teach a Bible study to someone. Tyron Edwards, 19th century theologian and great, great, grandson of Jonathon Edwards, stated in his compilation of quotations, New Dictionary of Thoughts, “If you would know anything thoroughly, teach it to others.” I have proven this to be true many times in my life. Currently, I am preparing notes on a topic that I have never studied in-depth prior to now. After teaching this study to a friend of mine, I will truly know what I know.
Three Bible studies that provide a good overview of the Bible are Exploring God’s Word, Search for Truth, and Search for Truth 2. I have personally taught EGW and SFT2. These will give you a solid basis of scriptural understanding. But, please don’t simply read them – teach them. And, when you commit to teaching someone, you must be willing to adequately prepare for any anticipated questions the student may ask, as well as be willing to revisit any topics that you did not anticipate. You will be amazed at what you learn through your experience!
Know what you know!