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How to UNDERSTAND the Bible
Plain Truth Magazine
January 1963
Volume: Vol XXVIII, No.1
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How to UNDERSTAND the Bible
Roderick C Meredith   
Church of God

Born: June 21, 1930
Member Since: 1949
Ambassador College: 1952
Ordained: December 20, 1952
Office: Evangelist

Millions seem unable to understand God's Word. Other millions disagree upon what they THINK the Bible says. Here's WHY!

   WHY IS IT that men are able to agree on the meaning of nearly EVERY book ever printed — except the Bible?
   Why is it that men seem unable to agree upon what God is like and what He says?
   Yes, WHY?
   Men seem to agree pretty well on what books about physics, mathematics, history and philosophy say. But apparently they cannot — or WILL NOT — agree on what the Bible says.
   Somebody has to be WRONG!
   Jesus warned: "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall JUDGE him in the last day" (John 12: 48).
   Paul instructed Timothy: "Preach the WORD" (II Tim. 4: 2). Then he was inspired to give this prophetic warning: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables" (Verses 3, 4). Notice that Paul warned men would "heap to themselves teachers" — false ministers who would teach whatever the people wanted. And therefore they would TURN AWAY from the TRUTH.

How to Find the TRUTH

   Since Jesus said the Word of God would JUDGE you in the last day, it is vital that you check up and make sure whether or not you or your preacher could be among those who have been "turned unto fables."
   There is one basic reason why most people — and most preachers — are in such disagreement and confusion about the Bible. They do not fully comprehend and apply the PURPOSE of God's Word.
   This all-important purpose is given in II Timothy 3:16. Study it. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
   Now notice these points: (A) ALL scripture is inspired by God. Paul had just got through telling Timothy: "From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation" (verse 15). We know that the only "scriptures" in existence when Timothy was a child were the Old Testament scriptures. So here is a New Testament proof that the Old Testament as well as the new is for our modern day Christian instruction and was inspired by God. The Old Testament has NOT been "done away."
   (B) The inspired scriptures are profitable for certain things: (1) For DOCTRINE — we are not to just assume any point of our belief to be true unless it can be proved in the scripture. We are not to try to read our doctrine into the Bible, but rather study with an open mind and accept the Bible doctrine.
   (2) For REPROOF–God's Word is "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb. 4:12). We must be willing to let it cut us and point out our sins.
   (3) For CORRECTION — the Bible was not written to substantiate what men believe, but to correct them where they are wrong.
   (4) For INSTRUCTION in righteousness — in His Word, God gives us far more than just the doctrines and principles of true spirituality, He gives us living examples of how those principles are to be applied in every phase of life. Through the Bible, we have a continuing wealth of instruction on how to constantly grow to spiritual perfection. We need not seek this instruction in the ideas of men, but in the Word of God.

Be Willing to ADMIT Your Errors

   So we find from these points, given in scripture, that the Word of God as contained in the Old and New Testaments is the direct revelation from our Creator to teach us spiritual truth. And we see that its primary PURPOSE is to show us where we are WRONG — and then to teach us the right instruction so we may grow to spiritual maturity.
   The shocking truth is that most people — and most preachers — reject and make null and void this very PURPOSE of scripture in the way they study and handle the Word of God.
   Probably YOU have been guilty of this very thing! Maybe you don't mean to — but the chances are that you have had an entirely wrong attitude and wrong approach to the study of the Bible.
   This very attitude may be the very thing that is leading you to REJECT Bible truth — and to thereby sin against God and bring on yourself the penalty of DEATH!
   It will PAY you to honestly — without prejudice — look into this matter.

The "Arguers" Get NOWHERE!

   You have undoubtedly met so-called "students" of the Bible who like nothing better than to argue and debate about scriptural points. The members of certain denominations and sects are noted for this.
   One of their outstanding characteristics is the fact that they will seldom — and often never — admit any error on their part in the course of the discussion. You can go down the line and show them point by point what the Bible says clearly and constantly on some subject they are mixed up about, and they will twist clear-cut scriptures out of their setting, or they will try to change the subject, or resort to any one of a dozen methods of self-deception in order to hide their faces from the facts.
   It makes no difference whether or not you will admit error on some point when talking to such "Christians." They will literally run away from the truth rather than admit that they might be wrong on some subject.
   Let's not "kid" ourselves. Such people are DISHONEST — intellectually, spiritually, however you may wish to describe it.
   In addition to twisting and perverting scripture, changing the subject, or just "running away" from the subject, some "Christians" even REJECT certain portions of God's Holy Word in order to avoid repenting and admitting error.
   I recently received a letter from such a person who was attempting to refute an article I had written. In doing so, this man was compelled to admit that the epistles of Paul as preserved in your Bible did back up what I wrote. But in order to "kid himself" and refuse to admit his mistake, this man decided to reject all the scriptures inspired through Paul.
   With that kind of attitude, I frankly doubt whether this man — or any such person — has a Godly fear and a respect for any of God's Word. But for those who do, listen to what Peter was inspired to write: "Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hash 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 (or twist), as they do also the OTHER SCRIPTURES, unto their own destruction" (II Pet. 3:15-16).
   Notice that Peter asserts that ALL of Paul's epistles are inspired SCRIPTURE. They are given by our Creator and are to be obeyed just as any other part of the Word of God.
   When this man, or YOU, or anyone rejects any part of the Bible, you are rejecting part of the very Word which will JUDGE you on judgment day. You are on very DANGEROUS ground!

Contradiction of Scriptures

   Another device very familiar to some "students" of the Bible is the habit of trying to use one Bible text to contradict another.
   Usually, when confronted with some point of truth which they cannot honestly deny but stubbornly will not accept, they attempt to find some vague scripture and use it — by careful "twisting" — to contradict the clear, logical chain of scriptures which abundantly prove the TRUTH they refuse to accept.
   God says: "I change not" (Mal. 3: 6). And again: "Jesus Christ (who is the Word), the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13: 8). God does NOT say one thing one time and then reverse His Word later!
   Jesus said: "The scripture CANNOT be broken" (John 10:35). You cannot prove any scripture to be untrue, and you cannot find one scripture that really contradicts another.
   God does NOT contradict Himself! But men contradict themselves, trying to find a way to reject God's truth.
   This is the CRUX of the matter!

Attitude Is Key Factor

   The really important thing in studying the Bible is that you have the right attitude of heart and mind.
   God says: "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and TREMBLETH at my word" (Is. 66: 2).
   What about YOU?
   Do you tremble at God's Word? Do you respect the authority and power behind that Word so much that you are afraid to reject or disobey it?
   Do you grasp the great difference between this attitude and the type of carnal, argumentative attitude so many "Bible students" have?
   The very first prerequisite to real conversion and becoming a Christian is to repent — to change your ways. Jesus said, "REPENT ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15).
   Peter said, "REPENT, and be baptized... and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2: 38).
   As shown in Romans 6:3-6, baptism pictures the death and burial of the old self. It is an outward sign that you realize that you are worthy of death — you are symbolically buried with Christ: "Not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42).
   Then, after receiving God's Holy Spirit, a real Christian will be willing to change — to "grow in grace and knowledge" (II Pet. 3:18). He will "hunger and thirst after righteousness" (Mat. 5:6).
   Such a real Christian will WANT to find God's way — whatever it is. He won't argue and debate over the precious Word of God!
   He is not seeking his own way. He is honestly, sincerely, zealously seeking GOD'S way.
   The Word of God then becomes profitable to that person, because it can correct, and reprove him where he is wrong — and instruct him in righteousness. Thus he can be taught by God, and fashioned into the perfect spiritual character God intends — finally to inherit eternal life in God's kingdom.

Your Most Important Decision

   These are things for YOU to think about — honestly and without prejudice.
   Are you really willing to be shown new truth? Will you permit God's Word to correct you — to show you where you are wrong? Or are you bound and determined to close your mind to anything new — to blindly defend what you already believe without really looking into the matter?
   Perhaps you are one of the thousands who are beginning to realize that The WORLD TOMORROW is the only radio or television program which really explains the great PURPOSE being worked out here below — and which goes through the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse, and makes it clear and meaningful.
   But if God is opening your mind and calling you to real understanding through this or any other means, you are soon coming to a crossroads. You will be shown some point of truth in the Bible that corrects and reproves you.
   You will have the temptation to argue, to twist the scripture, to "run away." This is what the Bible describes as a carnal mind. And it is written: "To be carnally minded is DEATH" (Rom. 8:6).
   But if you ask Him to and want Him to, God will give you the spiritual "backbone" to acknowledge your error and surrender your will to Him. If you keep this up, you will eventually give your life to Him. And in return, He will give you LIFE eternal.
   It all depends on your attitude as you study and hear God's Word.
   Do you really TREMBLE at the Word of the God who made you? Will you OBEY new truth and walk in it as God reveals it?

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Plain Truth MagazineJanuary 1963Vol XXVIII, No.1
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