The first result of a closed Bible in the church is almost always the promotion or elevation of man and the replacing of God’s instructions with human reason! It is to this error that the apostle Paul cast a warning in which he even names himself! 1 Corinthians 3:3 – 4 “For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men”?
In verse 5, Paul continues, “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe.” We see that the early apostles actively deflected any elevated status from themselves by a pointing their listeners to the centrality of the message of the gospel. In contrast, leaders who claim to be defenders of biblical truth but play down the importance of God’s invitation to read the Bible, risk leading Christians into spiritual poverty.
Handing over our responsibility to read the Bible in order to be solely fed by religious leaders was not God’s intent! Surrendering our learning for the living and practice of faith to a spoon-fed diet from popular teachers robs the believer of daily fellowship with God!
An open Bible in the hands of a Holy Spirit indwelt believer is uniquely God’s pathway for growing and maturing our faith. It doesn’t depend on people’s academic training or the length of time they have walked in faith. When the Bible is read with an open heart it speaks, convicts, comforts and guides then and there! The idea or notion that man's wisdom, training or academic qualification can elevate them above the need of the Bible is a trap leading to spiritual bankruptcy. The Bible has a unique ability to speak to every believer regardless of social position or education.
Let God speak, avoid foolish debates
The Bible reveals to us God’s plan for salvation, relationship and eternity, and can be trusted. I was once challenged by a confrontational Christian brother and asked in a steely-eyed encounter, “Are you an Arminian or a Calvinist?” Clearly the question was being asked to attempt to ascertain my position theologically in regard to these men’s teachings.
The trouble with such a question is that any answer would be understood and judged based on the enquirer’s interpretation of what Calvin or Jacobus Arminius have taught. I had learnt long ago that these men’s teachings have multiple and conflicting understanding across the world of their followers! My response was that I am a man with an open book, that book being the Bible. Do I build my faith on what Calvin or Jacobus taught? No, I don’t. I need to have my Bible open!
Enjoy Gods revelation
In Psalm 119: 97 – 102, the efficacy of God’s Word and its potential to impact our lives is stunningly outlined to any who would accept the challenge.
“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I may obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me”.
Wisdom, insight, understanding, and being kept from evil can result from a daily dose of an open Bible. This gifts us with the opportunity for daily and immediate responses of obedience. We should thank God for every faithful Bible teacher and honor those who teach well. However, these wonderful servants were not intended to be God’s primary daily channel of learning and growing as Christians. The Bible accompanied by the Holy Spirit’s presence is God’s provision that takes us on a journey of growing in faith.
The key to assurance of faith, read the Bible
The path to salvation, read the Bible
The invitation to know God, read your Bible
How do we move forward?
Move from being Sunday receivers alone and embrace the daily invitation that enriches faith! Read, meditate, and obey. This is the pathway to experiencing the presence of God. Joshua 1: 8 “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful”.
Go for the best, open your Bible.