The B-I-B-L-E, yes, that’s the book for me.” That was a song I sang in Sunday school as a youngster. Like the song, Jesus Loves Me; the lyrics have been stuck in my mind for over sixty years. But it hadn’t been the book for me. I hadn’t read any of it for almost a decade as a young man. For at least three to four of those years in my mid-twenties, I had this ongoing nagging thought, ‘I need to read the Bible.’ I didn’t ignore that still small voice, but I just kept putting it off. Thankfully, it never totally went away.
So eventually I picked it up and began to read some. It surely couldn’t hurt. Nothing major changed initially. It was a slow process over time, but my desire grew more and more to know what God said. The Bible is a big book that is made up of sixty-six books written by forty authors over a period of fifteen hundred years to different groups of people with much harmony and continuity. It takes a lot of time and effort to put things into their proper context. However, I began to realize that if I wanted to know God and what He expected of me, then I needed to know His word.
This is a huge hindrance in the spiritual development of the church. Most Christians do not read and study the Bible as a relational skill, in order to know God. I didn’t for a number of years, and it was detrimental to what I believed and the way I lived. I know firsthand, that apart from knowing the truth of God’s word one cannot begin to know Him in a personal way. Many will sit and listen to a sermon and think that they have done their religious duty for the week. But that would be like spending an hour a week with your wife expecting to have an intimate, growing personal relationship. Not possible!
Secondly, failing to understand the Bible in its proper context is another hindrance in growing and having assurance. Most of the New Testament books are written to churches, to the saints. Saints are simply believers. It is the instruction book for those who have trusted in Christ as Savior. Most of it is written for the purpose of learning how to grow as a child of God.”
My Comment: Understanding the Bible in proper context is absolutely necessary to having assurance; knowing for sure you are on your way to heaven. Failure to develop your relationship with the Lord through His word will cause you to be works driven rather than learning to live by faith, which is the only way to please God as a believer (Heb. 11:6).