So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Acts 8:30-31 ESV.
There are those who shy away from reading the Bible because they believe it is an outdated manuscript. Then there are others who have attempted to read the Word but gave up when they became confused with the story content. Then there are those like the treasurer of the queen that Philip was led through a divine appointment to meet and expound the scriptures to him.
As a seventeen year old who just surrendered to the Triune God without a minute understanding of anything that is important with God, I can relate. The first book of the Bible that I ever read was Ecclesiastes. This is the book that King Solomon wrote about his search and discovery for the meaning of life. When I first read it, I was dumbfounded, dismayed, and discouraged. But when I searched out various teachers of the Scriptures, they made the book become alive through the Triune God’s eyes.
Like any class where the student wants to learn, a teacher or mentor provides the catalyst that opens the mind of the pupil. Iron sharpens iron. As the teacher helps expand the student’s view of the subject, both the teacher and student grow from the experience.
Back in the first century, instruction came when two or more people personally met in the same location to discuss a subject. Today we live in a global schoolhouse where knowledge is a computer screen away. Though more convenient, the danger of searching the worldwide web is deciphering solid knowledge from speculative advice.
When studying any subject, we will generally gravitate toward those who are like us. The danger though is becoming narrow-minded. The advantage of broadening one’s scope is the ability to communicate with others from their point of view.
So when studying the Bible one needs to understand the background of the teacher, writer, or instructor. What is the filter they use to discern scripture? Everyone reads the Bible from a preconceived filter. For example, it could be a denominational filter, a twenty-first century western civilization filter, or a middle-eastern filter. It could be a socialistic filter, a communistic filter, or a democratic filter. Or in other words, everyone reads the Bible with a theological bent. The majority of today’s Biblical teachers generally have been trained from an Arminianism, Calvinism, or Trinitarian bent. Do you know the difference?
When you know where the person is coming from, than you have the general foundation on how they believe reality works. From there you can more easily discuss and understand the framework of their concepts and teachings.
The bottom-line: If the central core is Jesus Christ, listen and learn. Whatever differences come about are generally the preferences of the holder or their theological position of a perceived reality. We can argue and discuss preferences all day. However, if peace and grace is what you seek, than focus on building bridges in and through Jesus Christ. For when we read Scripture from a Christ-centered, Trinitarian perspective, our heart-filled eyes are open to see the Word in an eternal-to-earth dimension: God’s. Yes, I am bias.
Rooting For You in Christ!
Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married
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