I hear it a lot these days, "Who can really understand the Bible? All you need is Jesus." And I hear the other extreme, "If you don't believe like we do, you're on your way to hell." How did we get to the point where Christians could be so extreme in their views. I would surmise that its from ignorance on the one hand and arrogance on the other. So how do we balance the truth of God's word, which can sometimes sound so harsh, with the loving kindness of a Savior, that we want to always be Mr. Super-Agreeable. Its a hard question, and yet the Word of God offers the answers. The problem is that its not a simple answer. Many things in scripture are very hard to understand as Peter stated in:
2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given to him has written to you;
16. 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.
So what is the answer? A long one. All of us are sinners in this world and all of us at times act in sinful ways. This behavior is manifested by extremes. People go from one extreme to the other. When we get saved, we are commanded to become mature and balanced in our understanding. This means we learn both sides of an issue and consider all the facts, before we make our decisions, draw our conclusions, or form our opinions. This is called wisdom. Truth requires wisdom. Its a rare commodity these days. Impatience comes from our sin nature and drives us away from wisdom. The result is that we get our facts wrong and make wrong decisions leading to disaster. I propose that in order to be wise, a person must do a lot of reading and learning from the book of wisdom called the Bible. Bible study is not a cram-course to conquer. It is emphatically a life long learning process that cannot be rushed. The more you learn, the better off you are. Anyone who cannot see the necessity of this principle will not obtain wisdom.
So, I will propose a format for wisdom, that anyone can follow and I will guarantee that it works.
1. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, ask Him now, in prayer, to forgive you of all your sins and to save your soul. Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
2. Stop what you are doing and begin reading the word of God daily, for longer and longer periods of time.
James 1:25 But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty (the Bible), and continues in it, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
3. If you do not understand something that you read, look it up in a commentary and spend time learning the culture, customs, history and languages of the Bible.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of Truth.
4. Ask God for wisdom. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally, and does not hold back, and it shall be given to him.
5. Trust the Holy Spirit to teach you. 1Corinthians 2:11-16
11. For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man which is in him? even so the things of God no man knows, except the Spirit of God. 12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13. Which things we also speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15. But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Now that you have the format for wisdom. I will explain how this website will help you. My job as a teacher is to study and learn how things work and explain them to others. Yet, I am not the Holy Spirit, just a gifted teacher.
A teacher does not make you learn, he prepares information to help you learn. The Holy Spirit is actually the one who gives you the ability to learn. If a person gets wrong information, he learns wrong. If he gets right information, he has the opportunity to learn right. I study a lot, trying to understand what the scriptures say, not what I think they should say. Accuracy becomes crucial in the learning process when it comes to the Bible. All the disciplines come together for us to accurately translate the scriptures. The scriptures are actually able to teach themselves, if the actual thoughts of the original authors are conveyed to the readers. This is why translation is so important, along with knowing the cultural and historical background.
I am baffled to see Christians argue over the meaning of a Bible verse, and then discover that they are not even sure what it says, let alone what it means. I think we should first clarify exactly what the passage says in the original and then most arguments would dissappear because it would suddenly be very clear what the passage means for all of us.
This site is a forum that strives to help all of us present the best understanding of what a passage of scripture is trying to convey. Hundreds of translations have only confused the issue. All these translations have contributed much insight into the nuances and subtleties of the Greek and Hebrew languages over the years, but none have brought all those things into one place. The Bible is set in the original languages. The English is where most people get confused. This site is committed to verifying accurately what the Bible says in the original languages. This site is an effort to get believers together to discuss these issues. I know of no other way to approach the issue. My primary goal is to get small groups together in homes to have in-depth Bible studies to hash out these issues and bring the body of Christ together. If you have comments or questions about this please contact me.
Charles Michael Lassiter