One of my favourite Bible dramas is recorded in Acts26:24 where an alarmed Porcius Festus tries to help Paul regain His faculties and screams “Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad!” I imagine this as a school play and it is pretty hilarious. We see people like this every day. They have read too much and we just shake our heads in pity.
In studying God's word, we will find the light
What brought this picture to my mind? My openly stated decision to read The Bible like never before. I meant to follow through with my decision to find the truth the way it is stated, devoid of doctrinal arguments. When I made that declaration, I expected some challenges especially as regards making out time to study consistently. Other challenges crossed my mind but the one that took me by surprise was fear. Yes, fear. I never expected that I would be afraid to study God’s word but that was what I found.
As I walked that evening, I found myself asking, “What will I find”? It did not help that I read about a young Christian who became an evolutionist after he decided to study evolution so could counter it with Biblical facts. I wasn’t planning on studying Darwin, so what was I afraid of? I realised that I was worried about how the Word will change me. Will I find so many inconsistencies and dump the faith all together? Will I have more answers than questions? Will I simply be unable to believe what I read? Will I get to the stage where people shake their heads at me and say “thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad!”? Will I have a crisis of faith? I was pretty shaken up-and that took me by surprise. I had never experienced something like that before. Should I just let things be and carry on as usual instead of taking the risk to ruffle my faith?
I decided to take the risk. I will still go ahead and study the Bible. Like I said earlier, “I will read with an open mind, with sincerity and humility, trusting that the Spirit of God will breathe upon the pages. I will read The Bible earnestly, eagerly, expectantly, and desperately. I will read like a deer pants for the water brooks.”
There are three reasons for this decision:
1. Even in the midst of the doubt, there is this unshakeable assurance that Jesus will never let go of me. No matter how chaotic any crises of faith I go through gets, I have an assurance that if the God of the Bible as I have come to know Him exists, He will not leave my soul in hell (Psalm 16:10). Though the mountains be shaken and the hills disappear, His loving kindness will not depart from me. (Isaiah 54:11)
2. I would rather go through a shaking and come out with my mind clear, my eyes enlightened and my faith established and clearly defined.
3. I am pretty sure that I will find that Apostle Peter was right when he said “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty…19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts…21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter1:16-21).
Dear friend, the invitation is still open and I believe it is one that Jesus extends to you and me today for if He did not expect us to personally know the scriptures, why did He repeatedly ask the people, “Have you not read?” (Luke 6:3).
Let us search the word and break off the doctrines of men that do more to divide The Body than unite Her like our Saviour wants.
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