look back over the past 30 plus years I see where my relationship with the
Lord was hindered by my lack of knowledge about some very basic things. I
imagine that the people that I sat under to learn more about God and about
the Bible had no idea that I was as ignorant as I was. Please accept these
suggestions in the spirit in which they are given. I am not giving them in
criticism, only as suggestions.
Many people do not know that there is any other way to research words found
in the Bible other than in their cheesy little concordance in the back of
their own Bible (if there even is a cheesy one!) Every person should feel
comfortable in being able to do their own Bible studies. They should not be
fully reliant on you for their information.
SUGGESTION: Have at least one church copy of a concordance, Bible
dictionary, topical Bible, Bible atlas, and any other Bible study helps that
are helpful. Make sure that everyone in the congregation, including
children, knows how to use them.
This may sound ridiculous, but it is true. Many people do not know that
there are Christian bookstores. They don't know of all the wonderful Bible
study tools, biographies about Christian pioneers, bumper stickers,
bookmarks, and all the other spiritual information and help that are
available for purchase.
SUGGESTION: Compile a list of all Christian bookstores within a 45
minute drive for anyone who is interested and make sure everyone has an idea
of the types of things available there. Be sure to let them know they
can buy their own copies of concordances, Bible dictionaries, etc.
next one is a bit more sensitive than the others, so I will preface my
suggestion with a little example. My son did research for a science project
to find out how research information obtained off the Internet compared to
research information obtained at the library.
people have been taught in school that, when obtaining factual information
for a research paper, you were to go to the library and look up the subject
in books and periodicals. Never once did I hear any of my teachers indicate
that any information obtained at the library could be wrong. I'm hoping that
you were taught the same way so you will understand my suggestion.
son's project he attempted to contact the authors of the information he
found on a particular subject and asked them some questions that would help
pinpoint whether the written information was factual. Most authors obtained
some information from personal experience and the rest from other authors.
(This would leave open the possibility for someone, somewhere to have
written information that later turned out to be false and they had been
quoted as a factual source over and over by other authors.) All the
non-Internet authors had new information they wanted to include with the old
the conclusions of my son's research was that libraries have the possibility
of having a great deal of false information that is being passed around by
researchers as factual. Both on the Internet and in published works the
information usually contained a mixture of personal opinion based on
observation as well as factual information.
personal opinion portion is where I would like to direct your focus. Think
about how you have heard people back their opinions of particular Bible
topics, such as obtaining and losing salvation, gifts of the Spirit,
baptism, etc., with scripture. Have you noticed that there can be people on
exact opposite ends of a subject that have scripture to back their
viewpoint? How is that possible?
of a topic in which you have one viewpoint and in which there are other
people that have another viewpoint. Who taught you that your viewpoint is
correct? Was it teachers, professors, pastors, or other knowledgeable people
or was it the Holy Spirit? Don't answer this question hastily. It is
the root of your total knowledge of all the things of God and of the Bible.
These are the things that you are teaching other people. You need to
make sure that you find out what God wants you to believe.
aren't seeing what I mean then maybe another explanation might clear up any
confusion. I wrote about my own experience in finding out I was holding onto
man-made doctrine about losing or not losing salvation.
A Collection of Salvation
that in my case and in the case of lots of other people I know, we have had
a tendency to believe things we were taught by teachers, especially teachers
who have gone to Bible college. That makes them esteemed highly for the
knowledge they share with us.
humans, we have a tendency to develop opinions about things of God based on
what we were taught, what we read in the Bible, and mix in our own human
understanding tempered by our own life experiences. We probably think, "If
it sounds good based on all those things then it must be true." As someone
who has influence in the spiritual lives of others it is IMPERATIVE that we
sift what we are teaching and throw out every single minute particle that
has any man-made substance in it. Also, we should be praying that every
single one of our opinions be God's opinions.
"But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need
not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all
things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye
shall abide in him." 1Jo 2:27
was a Sunday school teacher for many years and taught children things that I
had been taught. If anything I told them was wrong in even the slightest way
and it hindered their walk with the Lord in even the tiniest fashion then I
am going to be held responsible. The same goes for you.
SUGGESTION: Give God the entire sum and substance of ALL the things
you know about Him, about His Kingdom, about the Bible, and every single
other thing (including things not of Him, but of the world). Then ask Him to
reveal anything that is not of Him. Only take back the things that have been
run past Him and have been approved.
This last one is somewhat related to the previous one. As you know, time
spent teaching, time spent reading the Bible, and/or a diploma on the wall
do not certify that you know everything about the things of God.
SUGGESTION: Do not reject everything you hear from people who do not
have the formal education or years of training that you have had without
examining those things first. There is a possibility that what you are
hearing is directly from God's mouth to your ear via that other person.