I have met many fishermen in Guyana. These hardy men who old methods of fishing and lack any of the modern techniques we see on the boats that ply the waters of the Gulf. It is common to see scars in their hands where they have quickly reached into the water and snagged their finger on a large hook. One or two have scars from where they were bitten by the piranha that inhabit the waters. These men learn early that caution is required when fishing.
Likewise, caution is required when handling the word of God. The Bible is “sharper than any two edged sword” and is able to pierce deeply into the very soul of man (Hebrews 4:12; Acts 2:37). The word of God is also described as the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). This powerful sword is described as a weapon of God’s wrath (Revelation 2:16; 19:15. 21). The word of God is a powerful weapon. Therefore, we must handle it with the utmost care.
It is sad to hear “experts” pontificate on the supposed shortcomings of Scripture. They offer such unlearned, shallow arguments that it is a waste of time to listen to their ravings. They handle the word in a cavalier fashion and do great harm to many people. It is with these thoughts that we offer points of caution for your Bible study.
No One Knows Everything About the Bible
It is a paradox that the more I study, the less I seem to know. God’s word is extraordinarily deep. As a man looking at a pool of still water, he has no idea of how deep it is until he dives in. I am certain that this seeming paradox applies to all students of Scripture. [bctt tweet=”The more I study, the less I seem to know”]
You will never reach a point where you declare, “I am finished! I know it all!” The humility that comes from constant exposure to the word will prevent such arrogance. Therefore, we caution the student to always temper his enthusiasm with a strong dose of a humble heart. You do not and will not know it all. Job thought he knew far more than he really did. God taught him otherwise (Job 42:1-6).
Search the Whole Bible for Answers
Be cautioned against reaching conclusions based on an incomplete study of the Bible. A wise man once said that no study is complete until every passage on the topic has been read and researched. That is a massive undertaking.
Always study the Old Testament. I know that we live under the guidance and direction of the New Testament. The old things were nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14) but we must still search out the Old Testament too. It is undeniable that the New Testament cannot be fully understood or appreciated apart from the Old Testament. No one can plumb the depths of Hebrews with a knowledge of the old law. Search the whole Bible for your answers. [bctt tweet=”…the New Testament cannot be fully understood or appreciated apart from the Old Testament.”]
Trust No Man With Your Bible Studies
There are many helpful authors who produce excellent study materials. We try to do that here. But you must never entrust your soul to a man. It is far too precious. Ezekiel chapters 13 & 14 contain harsh rebukes to the prophets and leaders of ancient Israel. Jesus rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23.
Today, many false teachers abound. They are driven by an insatiable desire for money, power and influence. Use extreme caution when studying beyond the Bible itself. You do not need a preacher/minister/priest/reverend/rabbi to interpret the word for you. Do it yourself!
Be Prepared to be Wrong
No one wants to be wrong. But as a serious student of the Bible you must always entertain the idea that you are mistaken. Otherwise, you close your mind and grow into the arrogant person we mentioned before.
Abraham was wrong and tried to help God along by conceiving Ishmael as his son (Genesis 16:1ff) Job was wrong (Job 42:1-6). Saul was wrong (Acts 9:3-9); Peter was wrong (Galatians 2:11-14). You can be wrong too.
Do not confuse confidence and arrogance. Truth can be known (John 8:32). Live confidently in the truth of God’s word but always be prepared to be corrected. [bctt tweet=”Live confidently in the truth of God’s word but always be prepared to be corrected.”]
God’s word is rich. I sometimes tell my students at Faulkner University that their Bible classes are far more important than any science or math class. God’s word is the only truth that matters in eternity. Study and you will reap the rewards!
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at preachersstudyblog.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.