Friday, July 19, 2013
Can A Believer Know the Bible by Reading It?
At the end of the Dark Ages, a monk named Martin Luther tried to be the best monk he could ever be. He did it in the desire that it would assuage the terrible feelings of guilt and fear that hounded him constantly. Martin Luther had a picture of Jesus in his mind as a "Frightening Avenger." He did not hear about the grace of God poured out upon us through the Son of God by means of dying for us upon the cross.(Galatians 2:20) He did not know that Christ had actually stood in the gap for him so that Martin didn't have to be apprehensive all his life of Him. (II Cor. 5: 21) Since Luther had been beaten regularly by his schoolmaster in order to learn Bible facts, he didn't associate the Bible with grace. No, not at all.
Even Martin's superiors realized his great anxiety and decided that Martin needed to be a professor instead of a monk. That is when Luther first got to read the Scriptures for himself and the things he feared about God were gradually addressed. He was convinced that he had to work for his salvation, for that is what he had been taught all of his life. One day, while studying in the book of Romans, Martin read Romans 1: 17:
1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first, and also for the Greek.
1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
What Luther read in Romans 1:17 was actually a repeat of Habakkuk 2: 4 in the Old Testament, so this fact was actually stated twice in the Bible. Martin Luther had been known to beat himself with ropes. He said prayers constantly and attended services seven times a day. He begged and took vows of poverty. But none of these things made the miserable monk mollified.
"You are Guilty!" were the words he could not overcome.
So when the Scripture's declaration "the just shall live by faith" popped off Scripture's page that day, Martin Luther was incredulous. This truth had not been revealed by a Pope but to a perplexed and troubled man, studying for the priesthood, who just happened to be reading the Bible.
This one verse did more than light the Protestant Reformation. It revealed that one seeking the Truth could find it in the Scriptures by merely reading them with a heart that is positive to Jesus Christ and want He wants to reveal to him/her.
But some may say that only if the words are properly exegeted can we properly understand them. That argument sounds like we are going back to the days before the Reformation, when only the Pope or the priest read the Bible to the masses.
Here are some verses that encourage us to seek the Lord. How do we seek Him? Do we do some mystical ceremony? No! We seek Him through His Word! The Psalmist says:
Psalm 14:2 "The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God."
Psalm 119:18 "Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law."
Psalm 138:2 "I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name."
Jeremiah 15:16 "Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts."
Jeremiah 6:19 "Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people--The fruit of their thoughts, Because they have not heeded My words Nor My law, but rejected it."
Jeremiah 22:29 "O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD!"
A few of the Lord's statements on the Word:
Matthew 7:24 "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock (v. 25) "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock."
Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."
Do you think that if you sat down with your Bible and wanted to understand it, God would refuse you? If you had a clean conscience before Him, do you think He would deny your request, "I want to know you Father?"
"If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" Luke 11: 13
Jesus showed us the Father. We learn of the Living Word in the Written Word. In the times of the Old Testament Jews, the Jews did not even have the whole Pentateuch in some cases. We now have the whole Bible, plus all the free online Bible resources too numerous to be counted like the http://v3.blueletterbible.org/index.cfm. In a country such as America, for us to be ignorant or led astray is really our own fault. If you ask Him, He will lead you to a place where you can be taught accurately, too. But you have the written Word, and according to the book of Hebrews, today is the day of salvation! (Hebrews 3: 15)