Some time ago, I was trapped in what could only be described as a ‘nothing but the Holy Ghost’ stage in my relationship with The LORD Jesus. I did not have a clue about the extra-biblical resources available to me, neither hard copy or via the internet. All of those years living in this Holy Spirit bubble stunted true growth as a Christian. It was all about the gifts of The Spirit. What shook me up the most was how the Holy Spirit tugged on my coattail and said, “to look back at the disasters you left in your wake.” Hundreds of people hurt stepped on and crushed because of my hyper-spirituality. What I am saying is, all I cared about was my own limited and childish understanding of The Word of God. It was His great love, which set me on the right course of “putting away childish things”. Sometimes a Christian can be thirty years old in The LORD and still be in wearing Pampers. Most likely, this may have happened to you. If it has not then you are truly blessed. The problem occurs only when we refuse to move forward from milk (the shadow of things to come) onto a more solid diet (Christ, the substance). The Apostle Paul reminds us in Phi. 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (NASB). Then reinforces this promise in the same book with 3:12-13 “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
What is the difference between reading the Bible and studying it? Well, you go to a nice restaurant for dinner. Once seated at your table, the waitress/waiter will give you a menu to read, not to study. You may even have read a good book from time to time; however, you do not devout your valuable time to study that book, unless having been told to do so by an instructor.
The Word of God is like no other book you will ever read. Although reading the Bible is fundamental, we must take it to a higher level and study it. 2nd Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NKJV)
The word ‘instruction’ is the Greek word ‘paideia’. A teacher takes the time to look up the definition of words in their original language. Many times a student will just gloss over material instead of slowing down and taking the time to understand the text thoroughly. However, the teacher’s concern is the best interest of their student. James 3: 1 says, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” So that verse alone is a warning for all who think themselves to be a Teacher to proceed with caution. That is why I implore you, slow down, and take the time to look up words in the original Hebrew and Greek. Never apply our English understanding of The Word of God. Keep it in its original setting. The word ‘paideia’ in 2nd Timothy means:
1) the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment) It also includes the training and care of the body 2) whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing passions. 2a) instruction which aims at increasing virtue 2b) chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment) 2b does not apply under the New Testament economy. God does not visit evil upon anyone. There is no evil in Him to visit upon people. Evil belongs to the wicked one. I know many will disagree with me on this subject nevertheless, there it is. There are spiritual laws set in place just like the laws of physics. We have all heard the saying, “whatever you put out will come back to you”. Others call it Karma, The Bible describes it like this:
Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life”.
This spiritual law is a design of Almighty God, but so is the law of gravity. If you break the law of gravity, you will certainly reap its reward. People blame God for all of the sickness, pestilence, war, and evil in this world. However, at best one might blame God for making us free moral agents i.e., free will. So, one reason we should study The Word of God is that the answers to all of our questions regarding why did this or that happen are written therein. Take the time to study the following verses: Death in Adam, Life in Christ (NKJV) Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s [c]offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)” Next up, “the shadow of things to come”.