In the Bible, Part 1 we looked at the doctrines of the Bible being the Word of God and the Canon of Scripture. I want to follow that by talking about how wee are supposed to read the Bible.
How To Read The Bible
There are two things we need to realize before we begin to examine how to read the Bible. The first thing is that the Bible is a book that people have been reading for 3,000 years. The second thing we need to realize is that the information found in the Bible was passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation by for an additional 3,000 years before the first portions of it were written down by Moses.
For those of us in the English speaking world, our main method of interacting with the Bible has been through reading, and as a result of that there are guidelines that we have to follow on how to read the Bible correctly. These ideas may not be useful in parts of the world where people do not read, but that is another issue I will deal with later.
Here are the five doctrines.
#1. The Authority of Scripture
The first doctrine is known as the Authority of Scripture. Here is a definition of it for you:
“The Authority of Scripture means that all of the words in Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.” (Wayne Grudem)
The Authority of Scripture is important because in order to build healthy churches, well balanced Churches we need to have a community standard on how to respond to what the Bible says. The current cultural climate in the English speaking world encourages people to believe in yourself, to express yourself , to have self esteem and many other such things that allow our emotional reaction(s) to people who are different somehow (different skin color, traditional personal pronouns, and more).
In the local Church we do not depend on ourselves like that. Instead of searching for some kind of divine spark within, we have a God standing on top of a mountain set on fire by His Presence, literally talking down to us in the valley below with a voice as loud as thunder to silence our inner monologues and the pursuit of esoteric wisdom.
We need teachers to make sure everyone who is gathering around the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ understands this. Anyone who prefers listening to their inner monologue or some kind of esoteric wisdom more than the voice of God in the Bible which is as loud as thunder coming from the top of a burning mountain set on fire by God’s presence while we gather around the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the valley below should not be recognized as a member of the local Church.
This is how a healthy, well balanced local Church responds to the Authority of Scripture.
#2. The Inerrancy of Scripture
The second doctrine is known as the Inerrancy of Scripture4. Here is a definition for you:
The Inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact…the definition in simple terms just means that the Bible always tells the truth, and that it always tells the truth concerning everything that it talks about.” (Wayne Grudem)
When we read the Bible, we are listening to God’s memories of the past. The Christian God has witnessed every single moment of human history, and He has shared some of his memories with us so that anyone who wants to have a healthy relationship with him can find everything they need to know about him in a single book.
The problem with that is that the corruption that exists in human nature causes us to overlook the implications of the details we do not understand. At the time I am writing this, I recently remember seeing a video about a psychologist named Jordan Peterson. Jordan Peterson had lived most of his life as an atheist, but recently became a theist and decided to live his life as if God were real.
This led him to begin reading the Bible, I personally found this kind of transition curious, so I took some time to listen to how he read and applies the Bible and as a result I can tell you not to waste your time thinking Jordan Peterson is a reliable source of Biblical insight.
The reason I can say that is because I saw a video once where Jordan Peterson said “I do not know what to do with the story of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ” and then he begins using the Bible, to trying to and help people discover their human potential and share their inner goodness with each other.
So while Jordan Peterson does not know what to do with the story of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, anyone who is part of a healthy, well balanced local Church does understand the significance of the Resurrection…if the teachers God has appointed in the Church are sharing the important of the Inerrancy of Scripture with everyone who wants to be recognized as a Christian.
#3. The Clarity of Scripture
Earlier I mentioned that Jordan Peterson said he did not know what to do with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I would like to take a closer look at that by introducing the third doctrine we need Teachers to share in order for us to learn how to read the Bible correctly.
The third doctrine is known as the Doctrine of the Clarity of Scripture, and here is a definition of it: “The clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help and being willing to follow it.” (Wayne Grudem)
Why does Jordan Peterson not understand the significance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Let me say here I am not trying to be mean or anything like that, I am simply using him as an example because he has publicly admitted this confuses him, I am mentioning him because of his confusion, not because of any malice or anything like that in my heart.
The reason Jordan Peterson does not understand the significance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is because he has not dealt with the corruption that exists in his own heart. God’s biggest concern is that we would began to understand that human nature is broken instead of living in denial about it.
This is why Jordan Peterson does not understand the significance of the Resurrection; his background in psychology has convinced him that all of the symptoms of the corruption in human nature can be fixed without a divine intervention. The end result is that Jordan Peterson is simply offering people advice that can help them hide the superficial evidence of a much deeper problem.
This is where teachers come in. We need teachers in the local Church to talk about how the Clarity of Scripture can be affected by the corruption in the human heart. The simple reality is that the corruption in human nature causes to misunderstand the Bible. Let me give you two examples of what I am talking about.
Here is the first one: in the Old Testament, there was a prophet named Ezekiel who saw a vision of living creatures and wheels that could fly around. These living creatures and the flying wheels have become very popular among people who believe in UFOs. There are some people who claim that Ezekiel saw alien spacecraft flying around and wrote about it in the Bible. Just for the record, that is not true at all.
If it is not true, then why do people believe it is true? The reason is because they are reading the Bible without resolving the issues caused by corruption in their own hearts and minds. The same thing can be said about another Internet celebrity named Joe Rogan, who I want to use as my second example.
Joe Rogan is a big fan of using mind altering drugs, and he has stated before that he thinks Moses’ encounter with the burning bush was the result of some kind of mind altering drug. Joe Rogan basically believes that Moses was hallucinating. The reason Joe Rogan is so sure of that is because he is reading the Bible without resolving the issues caused by the corruption in his own heart and mind.
The Clarity of Scripture can avoid all of this, if we allow the Teachers freedom to share this doctrine with the people who want to be recognized as members of the local Church. This doctrine can serve as a filtering system to identify people who disagree with God by bringing the wrong ideas promoted by Jordan Peterson, Joe Rogan, and people involved in the UFO community and have their misunderstanding dealt with by isolating and eliminating the impact of their personal and professional ignorance of the truth.
This brings us to the fourth doctrine we need in order to read the Bible right.
#4. The Necessity of Scripture
Here is a definition for the fourth doctrine, which is known as the Doctrine of the Necessity of Scripture:
“The Necessity of Scripture means that the Bible is necessary for knowing the gospel, for maintaining spiritual life, and for knowing God’s will; but is not necessary for knowing that God exists or for knowing something about God’s character and moral laws.” (Wayne Grudem)
This particular doctrine exists to help people understand what can and cannot be accomplished with the Bible. The simple truth is that if you are not listening to what the Bible says, you are not searching for God. This is why Wayne Grudem said the Bible is important for “knowing the Gospel” and “for maintaining spiritual life.”
We need the teachers in your area to help people understand that without the Bible, you can get lost in being spiritual because you are listening to spirits who do not care about what happens to you. The corruption that exists in human nature makes all of the spirits (including the Christian God) look the same.
An in-depth understanding of the Bible is needed in order for people to begin to recognize the difference between being spiritual because you are following evil spirits and being a Christian because you are following God, and yes there is a difference.
There are differences between the Christian God and every other spirit that people worship around the world, and we need teachers to set a standard in the local Church to help people gathering around the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ see the difference between those who listen to the Word of God in the Bible and those who do not.
That brings us to the fifth and final doctrine we need to be aware of in order to read the Bible right.
#5. The Sufficiency of Scripture
“The Sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.” (Wayne Grudem)
The doctrine will be held by people who have been well taught by the teachers in the local Church community. The best way to recognize if someone understands and applies the Sufficiency of Scripture is to find out where they look when they want to interact with God.
A healthy, well balanced Christian will limit their search to finding the Word of God in the Canon of Scripture. Anything you cannot read about in the Bible is being used by God’s enemies to keep people caught in the corruption that exists in human nature.
We need someone in your area to teach people that God is gathering around the Gospel of Jesus Christ how important this is. We cannot begin to make disciples until the people God wants us to help understand this well enough to limit their search for the sacred to the text of the Bible.
Conclusion: The First Task of the Teacher
I like to refer to the ideas I have shared here as the First Task of the Teacher. It is my hope that every local Church in the English speaking world that has a government who provides religious freedom would have access to one person who can work as a specialist dealing with each of the doctrines I have shared so far; and I also hope they can organize prayer meetings to develop strategies to do this kind of work in other parts of the world where it is not safe at all to speak openly about any of these things.