Faith Fix: The Whole Truth?
Acts 20:27 (NKJV)
For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
As a pastor I get asked questions all the time and about many things. One of my favorite parts of this work is answering questions and helping people discover truth. At times I could even wish my platform for doing so were larger. One of my greatest desires in life is truth, therefore I love to also share this truth with others. So in answering a common question, it may be surprising to you what I say. I only ask that you bear with me to the end.
When asked if one should read the entirety of the Word, like from cover to cover, my answer is not a resounding yes. In fact, I would often lean towards no. Consider this: 2 Peter 3:16 (Paul has written in all his epistles) “…in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” The Bible is good, it is truth, it is the knowledge that God has intended to teach us by and therefore to help us grow. However, just as you would not give a baby a T-bone steak to eat, not all people are ready for all truth. The truth of God is something we learn through study and faithfulness. Untaught people can take truth and become dangerous even if that is not their intention.
I remember when I was new to the faith, I found myself in a similar situation of what we see in 1 Corinthians 13:11. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” I was sure somethings were true, I made some mistakes in my conveyance of them, and had some hard lessons as a result. There were people that I “witnessed” to in that time that I left with a very sour taste in their mouth. When I first came to the Lord, I tried to do so on my own. I was not mature enough to teach anyone. I hadn’t learned to submit yet and I was tossed to and fro with all sorts of ideas of the truth. I had a basic knowledge and a zeal for God, but by not being taught I made a mess of things at times.
I say all of this for a purpose:; as a pastor my heart is to help people. God intends us to grow, and we should to the point where we can be effective at teaching others. However, growth cannot happen without submission. We must first be taught. We would not expect a 1st grader to read Shakespeare and comprehend it, much less teach it. Likewise, we cannot expect the unlearned to simply read the Bible and get all of it. Yet, that is so often what people do. There is so much that is missed by trying to get scripture without history, context, or a well-rounded understanding of God.
Christians! What God has your pastor deliver in their services is what you need to study! So many Christians fail because they don’t learn the material taught and then when the test comes they don’t know the answers. I am not suggesting that we don’t have a desire to learn, I am suggesting that until you start being effective at living day to day, don’t dig into deeper things. If your life is in chaos, what help will the knowledge of whether there is a rapture or not be to you? Believers so often don’t know what to read or where to start. Start where God has placed you to grow!
When it was early on in my walk with God I thought I knew way more than I did. One thing I did right however is every week, in the days after Sunday, I would take my notes from service and go over them again and again. As I did I learned the voice of God by understanding His Word. This is what fed me and helped me to grow. The things the Lord put on my pastor’s heart to teach, put in me the understanding of how to hear God’s voice. In Jeremiah 3:15 God informed us, “And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Some things we simply cannot get on our own.
In closing, let me reiterate that what I am saying is not to reject or refuse study. I am encouraging people to study right. Start with simpler things and allow yourself room to grow. As you do, you will have a clearer understanding of Truth and will see God’s peace in your life. The Holy Scriptures throughout point us to one very important truth, which is that of submission. It is a necessary component of faith, so you will not truly find God without it.