Is there, or can there be, a common understanding of God’s Word, the Bible?
For centuries, the discussion and the arguments have continued unabated, often to the hurt of the curious and seekers after truth.
Actually, a common understanding of the Bible is achieved when men and women come to it seeking truth and enlightenment. Sadly, so many study the Scriptures with a mind toward finding what they already believe. Confirming whatever particular “faith” or “doctrine” they may have seized upon as that teaching which comforts and supports.
It is an odd and often contradictory system of belief that does not conform to the Bible itself but more than not seems to ignore the Scriptures and present instead, the worn-out and jaded philosophies of generations of failed societies.
If one believes, and then maintains, that the obviously unworkable practices and dogmas, or the confused ramblings of religious quacks and frauds is God’s will, then there is a problem.
The logical and reasonable awareness is that only God’s Word remains the same in all generations, in all societies and governments. Wouldn’t it at least occur to thinking men and women that there is something uniquely valuable about the Bible?
In this concern, would it not also be true that the Bible (God’s Word) is the final arbiter of truth?
Here’s some Scripture: 2 Peter 1:20, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.”
Here’s another: Paul in Romans 2:13, “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”
Then James 4:17, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Could you say from reading these Scriptures that first, we don’t have the right to interpret Scripture to suit ourselves? Secondly, if you know the truth of God’s Word, and then choose to do it not, you have sinned. If not, why not?
The Bible is filled with examples of people who chose to sin, and in spite of what they knew God expected of them, did as they pleased. Included in those examples are the results of those same people doing it their own way, with the obvious result.
A curious fact of modern life is the propensity of men and women who would otherwise logically and reasonably choose, then suddenly losing their ability to act reasonably and logically. Then choosing the most unreasonable and illogical course of action for themselves when it comes to religion.
Abraham of old was a fast learner when it came to God’s will and as soon as he discovered that God was not pleased with his actions, quickly chose to amend his ways. Abraham then chose rightly and was seen by God as faithful (Romans, chapters 4 and 5).
“Wait,” some will object, “didn’t Abraham have God informing him truthfully and directly, and didn’t Abraham “hear” God?”
Did you know that the process that leads to salvation is both reasonable and logical? Here is the process: Hearing and not doing is unacceptable to God. True faith results in the work that is pleasing to God.
The following is the plan that God has given to mankind that will, if followed, result in salvation.
First, one must hear the Word of God. (Romans 10:17).
Second, one must believe what you have read or heard. (Mark 16:16).
Third, one must repent of past life, action; sin. (Acts 17:3).
Fourth, one must confess Christ, not just use His name. (Romans 10:9).
Fifth, one must be baptized, immersed, buried, in water. (Acts 22:16).
Then, if all things that God has prescribed for your salvation have been met, then you can begin to live faithfully. (Galatians 6:9).
Here’s the danger: The world, especially the “religious world,” offers an abundance of options to “save” the soul.
Wouldn’t it be logical, reasonable, to choose God’s offer and then choosing to exclude all other “ways” simply follow God’s plan, which not incidentally, leads straight to His throne in Heaven?
Want to know more?
What about the Bible?
R. B. Ward has been a long-time preacher in the Churches of Christ. He has served in that capacity in Page for 10 years.
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