Wednesday, January 6, 2016
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).
Although there is so much confusion about it, can we really understand and enjoy the Bible?
Friends, the Bible is a big Book. The King James Bible contains 1,189 chapters; 31,101 verses; and 791,328 words. Unfortunately, a very small fraction of readers ever make it through them all. If they do finish reading the Bible through, even fewer understand what they read. Why?
It takes little to discourage people from putting down the Bible altogether—the various “Bible-believing” (ha!) groups that argue, the modern translations with their arduous Latinized words, the commentaries that all teach opposing ideas about the same verses, the symbolic and other “cryptic” passages, the scoffers and skeptics’ chuckles, and the stigma of believing “the Word of God” in this “day and age of education, empiricism, reason, and sophistication.” We can only wonder how any Bible readers in their understanding ever get past the opening verse: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Once, I read a Bible commentary in which the author lamented, “Preachers have done a great job in confusing people in the Scriptures.” Imagine—he wrote that almost 50 years ago! Yes, 99 percent of church leaders have utterly failed in educating their people in God’s Word. They taught them great stories, told them hilarious jokes, and led them in “epic” “worship” songs and dances, but what really mattered most—the eternal Word of God being deposited into the eternal souls of people—was at the bottom of the ecclesiastical agenda (if at all). What did JEHOVAH God say of Israel’s lackadaisical religious leaders misguiding God’s nation centuries before Christ? “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” (Jeremiah 23:1). There are many “destroyed” and “scattered” church members even today, but there is hope!
Our first Bible Q&A of 2016: “Should we pray for ‘safe trips’ and ‘traveling mercies?’”