The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
"Can a man come to understand God's Word on his own? I've been trying to understand the Bible for a long time, but seem more confused than ever." Mr. H. W., Alberta, Canada
The Bible records an example of a man who sought to find God — on his own — and failed. Notice it in Acts 8:26-40. Philip, a deacon in the New Testament Church, met a man of Ethiopia, a man of great authority, sitting in his chariot on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. The Ethiopian was reading his Bible — in the prophecies of Isaiah. Notice what Philip asked him: "Understandest thou what thou readest?" (Verse 30.) And the Ethiopian replied simply, "How can I, except some man should guide me?" (Verse 31.) Here was an educated man, able to read the Bible in two languages, a man of responsibilities and accomplishments, the treasurer of a Queen's wealth. But he realized that unless a minister should help him, he could not understand God's Word. Verse 35 shows that Philip gave him the instruction he sought. "Philip opened his mouth and began at the same scripture and preached unto him Jesus." You can on your own learn to understand much of your own Bible, but the Bible itself reveals God has sent teachers — like Philip — to make the whole truth plain. Notice what Paul wrote in Romans 10:13-15. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" Here is the key to understanding your Bible. First of all, you must determine who the ministers are that God Almighty has sent. Listen to those who are God's faithful and true servants. Listen with an open mind — willing to believe what you are taught out of your own Bible. Notice Romans 10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing BY THE WORD OF GOD." If you would like to begin a thorough study of your own Bible, enroll now for the Ambassador College BIBLE Correspondence Course. This is a unique Bible study course — the only textbook you need is your own Bible. This Correspondence Course provides an easy-to-follow, step-by-step study — an opportunity to follow an organized plan in learning the basic truths of God's Word. Already 75,000 students receive and study their monthly lessons free of any charge. The Ambassador College BIBLE Correspondence Course is a complete Bible study guide, fully illustrated with photos, maps and charts which literally make the Bible come alive. No longer will you find Bible study a dull irk-some task, but you will find it deals with up-to-date current events and keeps pace with this modern SPACE AGE! Enroll for your first free lesson NOW. Send your name and address to your regional editor (see inside cover for addresses). Don't delay — enroll immediately.
"Why did Christ have to suffer to become perfect, since He never sinned?" Mrs. A. W., Alberta, Canada
Most people have no idea what perfection is. Jesus Christ, before He became a man, was God. He was perfect character. When He became flesh, His mind became subject to the pulls and temptations of His flesh. But He never yielded to temptation. He learned what it meant to become perfect in the flesh by calling upon the power of God for help. By the power of the Holy Spirit He resisted every trial and temptation. Perfection of character is a day-by-day experience. It was this experience of MAINTAINING perfection of character that Jesus Christ went through in the human flesh. The answer to WHY Christ had to suffer is found in Hebrews 4:14-16. In order to effectively minister to our needs in His office as our great High Priest, Christ experienced temptation. But He never yielded to it. He experienced what Peter describes as the "trial of your faith" which He endured and overcame (I Pet. 1:7). Jesus Christ never suffered for His own sins. But He DID suffer for sin! Not His own sins, but ours! The full penalty of our sins was put upon Him "who did no sin" (I Pet. 2:21-25). As a result, Jesus Christ knows what it is like to suffer for sin. He knows what it is like to be forsaken by Almighty God — "cut off" in our stead (Mat. 27:46). He paid for our sins so that we can turn to God for forgiveness when we repent of our sins. Christ never sinned, never forsook God's commandments, never allowed wrong attitudes to enter His mind. He learned perfection — resisted temptation — no matter what trial or test came His way, even to enduring the brutal death of crucifixion.