Last week I posted an announcement on our HOA Facebook page and the Nextdoor site that encompasses our community. I let it be known that we are starting a Bible study in our home in September—a study on How To Study The Bible.
Response has been slow , the biggest reason apparently because no one knows who I am and whether I am someone they want to study with. Imagine that.
I had forgotten that for the last 45 years any study I started immediately had the backing and reputation of a local church and/or well-known parachurch ministry behind it. Now I just show up in this neighborhood in Texas and tell everyone they should come to a Bible study with me and I’ll teach them how to study the Word for themselves.
The fact that all this is true—that I really will do that and that is my primary concern in doing this doesn’t mean much to them. The fact that I actually know what I’m talking about having three theological degrees and 45 years of experience in local churches doesn’t matter.
They don’t know that.
So now it is my job to try to let them know I’m for real and I’m safe—well, as safe as the Lord is anyway.
It can be frustrating. But Jesus said not to believe everyone. John said we were to “test the spirits” before accepting them (John 4:1).
But how do we do this? How do “they”—those people who may have been Christians for decades but have never been taught how to actually study the Bible for themselves—do this? How do they test the spirits?
To be sure some in the New Testament time seemed to have supernatural abilities in this area. But most had a different method. They knew the scripture and made certain that what was being taught was consistent with scripture. The scripture records that these were “more noble” than the others (Acts 17:11).
That’s what I’m trying to teach😊.
It is a bit maddening, but I believe the Church in America is at crossroads, and one of the determinants for which direction she will turn is how Christians view scripture. Is it a tool they know about but don’t understand? Do they just trust their teachers and preachers to be accurate? In our travels since leaving North Orange Christian Church I have noticed numerous major teaching errors coming from the platform almost every week—including some very well-known and respected mega church preachers. These aren’t just academic minutia, but important and core teachings of our faith–taught falsely from pulpits and platforms of Christian congregations. We cannot afford to just believe whatever is said! And we won’t know the difference if we don’t know the Word of God and how to study it!
Churches are at the crossroads–but so are individual Christians. Be careful which road you take my brothers and sisters.