I’m looking at my calendar and see that we are almost halfway through February. Time is moving along, isn’t it? Which brings to mind my bible reading plan. I put out a challenge at the end of the year. Quite a few have joined in as a group on the same plan. How are you doing with your plan? Are you keeping current? If so, great! If not, don’t be discouraged. Keep going. Don’t look at it as a chore. Look at it as a something enjoyable. I guarantee that the more time you spend in your bible the more you will seek it out.
There is good reason for this. It’s not just some “How-To” book. It’s not a “Rah-Rah” book that will fire you up one minute and leave you cold the next. No, it’s a book that gets deeper and deeper the more you read it. For those whose eyes have been opened, the Spirit of God speaks directly through the pages into the soul of the reader.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
What does “the man of God” mean? Doesn’t this serve as a qualifier for those who read scripture? Certainly, the bible is available to be read by anyone. Yet, even intense study does not mean understanding. We see this when two “denominations” of Jews confronted Jesus about scripture.
Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.
v. 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
These were people who claimed to be experts in what God had to say through the written word, yet Jesus shut them down so that they were afraid to say anything else. That didn’t stop their anger towards Jesus, however. Certainly, Jesus was no fool to that.
Incredibly, at a point in his ministry, Jesus intentionally spoke so as to exclude understanding by some (many). We’ve all heard about this, yet it’s worth reviewing the actual words here.
Matthew 13:10-17 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.”
But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Incredible! It’s almost as if the bible has one huge typographical error. Jesus spoke in parables.
v. 34-35 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that those who claim to be born-again are smarter than others. Hardly. I am saying that it is God who opens our minds to understanding. See for yourself.
Luke 24:25-27 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
v 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
v 44-45 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
The same thing is going on today. It’s not a matter of being smart, it’s a matter of whether or not Jesus opens understanding.
This brings up two points. Do born-agains have exclusive insight to the Bible? Everyone has some degree of insight – enough to condemn us all for unbelief, just as God has revealed himself in nature (Romans 1:20). However, God reveals himself to whom he wishes.
Matthew 16:16-17 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Here’s the take-away for today. If scripture speaks to you, pursue it. This is God talking directly to you. Grab it with gusto. It will change your life! If it doesn’t speak to you, then you owe it to yourself to ask some really hard questions. Maybe God hasn’t opened your eyes. Do you want him to? Maybe you haven’t taken that no-turning-back step to salvation. If you haven’t, please do so. Today. You may never get another chance.
Father, stir all of us to see you with all our hearts, minds, and strength. Create in us a hunger for you and your Word. Let us repent of our sin and humble ourselves. Please heal us. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers