Thursday, October 26, 2023

Open Book Test

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)

When I was in school, we took tests for the different classes that we had.  Sometimes, we had what they called an open book test.  This was a test that was different from the usual tests, because we were allowed to use our textbooks to look for the answers to the questions.  This was a much easier test, unless you did not know what was in the textbook.  If you had read the textbook for the class, and you knew what was taught about the subject at hand, the open book test was easy to successfully complete.

In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul wrote to Timothy about four different things that God's Word is profitable for: doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.  These four things fit into two different categories: beliefs, and actions.  Doctrine and correction here are talking about having right and wrong beliefs, and instruction in righteousness and reproof are talking about right and wrong behavior.  God's Word shows us the right things to believe and do, as well as showing us the wrong kinds of beliefs and actions to avoid. 

God's Word shows us right and wrong beliefs, and actions, so it really is simple for us to understand what we should and should not do, as well as seeing what is right to believe and what is not.  The Christian life is like an open book test, where we go through life and whatever challenge we face we can go to God's Word to see what we need to do.  Life can be challenging and testing at times, but we have an open book, the Bible, that helps to show us the answers we need to the questions we face in life.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant."
1 Corinthians 12:1 (NKJV)

The phrase "ignorance is bliss" is said to refer to someone who is not aware of a problem, and because they are not aware of it, they do not worry about it.  While that may be true, ignorance is not really a good thing.  Ignorance is defined as a lack of knowledge, education, or awareness.  While not knowing something may make it easy not to worry about it, ignorance does not make the problem go away, or solve the problem.  Knowledge is better than ignorance, and by having knowledge and understanding about something we are better off.

There are several times in the New Testament where we are told that we should not be ignorant.  In 1 Corinthians 12:1, Paul told the Corinthians that they should not be ignorant of spiritual gifts, in 2 Corinthians 2:11, Paul talked about not being ignorant of the schemes of Satan, and in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Paul told the Thessalonians that he did not want them to be ignorant of the fate of believers who had died.  All of these verses show us that God does not want us to be ignorant of biblical things. 

If we are ignorant of what God has said about something, then we cannot effectively operate in it.  If someone is ignorant of the fact that God's love is in them (Romans 5:5), they may live their life believing they have no control over their emotions and attitudes.  If someone is ignorant about what it means to be a new creation and the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21), they may live a life below the standard that God has provided for them.  Ignorance of God's Word is not bliss, it is dangerous and it can hinder us from living the life God has planned for us to live.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

No Changes, No Adjustments

"Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven."
Psalm 119:89 (NKJV)

If you have ever signed a contract, booked a room at a hotel, or made some other kind of legal agreement, you have the terms of what you are involved in written down in a contract.  Your responsibilities are outlined, and the conditions of what you are doing are described so that there is no question about what you have, what is expected from you, and what you can and cannot do.  Once the contract is settled, there are no changes or adjustments that can be made to the contract.

The Bible shows us Who God is, God's plan for mankind, what Jesus did for us, and everything that has been provided for us because of Jesus.  What we call the Old and New Testaments are really a legally binding contract that God has set in place with mankind.  This contract, or we could use the word covenant, is settled and there are no changes or adjustments that will be made, or need to be made to it.  What God has said in His Word is unchanging, and we can be certain of its validity. 

Unlike the word of man, God's Word is forever settled, it is unchanging, it is reliable, it has no expiration date, and it is still as true and as powerful today as it ever was.  While we may think that somehow what we see in God's Word does not apply to us, that God's Word may not fit our situation, or that somehow we are an exception to what God has said, the Word of God has never changed and it does not need to be adjusted to fit us, it already applies to us and it will always work for us.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

A Personal Experience, Or Just A Nice View?

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"
Psalm 34:8 (NKJV)

Recently I was at a restaurant that had a display case showing all the different types of cake that someone could have for their dessert.  As I entered the restaurant with my friends, we stopped to look at the selection of cakes, and we were already making our decision about which ones we were going to choose.  That was nice, but what if all we did was look at the cakes in the display and we never ate any cake?  It was not enough to just look at the cake that was available, we had to place our order and eat the cake to get the full experience.

For many people, Christianity is just a religion, or a theory about a good way to live.  For some people, Jesus was just a nice teacher who said some interesting things, and the Bible is just a good book with many fine things to say.  For anyone who falls into any of these categories, Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible are something that they have looked at, but things that they have never personally experienced.  We need to do more than just think nice thoughts about God, Jesus, and the Bible. 

The Bible tells us in Psalm 34:8 to taste and see that the Lord is good; we are told that we need to have a personal experience with God, Jesus, and God's Word.  If we only do some 'window shopping' with what we see in the Bible, and we never take hold of those things for ourselves, then we are missing out on what God provided for us through Jesus.  We should all do more than just look at what God has given us; we need to make it a part of our life and live the blessed life that God has planned for us, and be a blessing to others.