How Y’all doing today?,
Shall we begin today where I left off from last week?
More recently, and many times over the last few months we have shown up to a Bible Study to find a video cued up on the flat screen hanging on the wall and then been asked to turn to a page in a book, not a passage of Scripture, we pray briefly and then listen to a best-selling author talk about some fear that someone has about their life and how the person on the screen is going to lead us to some truth that will set us free. This is not, I repeat, NOT a Bible Study. It is a read-along from a book, it is a Book Club. Anyone can write a book and pepper it with bits of Scripture eluding to doing something a better way, the way the author deems to be important. Let me ask you this, is there a better way to do something than the way that the Holy Ghost leads? I don’t believe there is, that however is just my opinion.
Throughout the first post in this series, throughout this post, and concluding with the last post I will not try to convince you to not read an instructional book by an author. I am trying to convince you “be wise” when it comes to reading something other than Scripture. My mentor I had at Bible institute once told me, “be careful reading something other than the Bible if it itself is not the Bible, for a book can be about the Bible and the Bible is Truth, however since the book is written by man and not God what lies are within its covers? In other words God’s Word is truth, man’s word is not always truthful.”
Many years ago I went to an Elder in the church I was attending at the time and I asked him, “I do not truly understand what it is to be a disciple, or how to disciple others, could you teach me?” His response floored me, “Just read your Bible and you will understand.” I had been reading my Bible, studying it, I had been chosen to be a leader, the teacher to the children in our church. Two weeks later the Elder came to me, handed me a book, “Read this and you will understand”. It was not the Word of God. It was not even filled with Scripture locations to read in the Word of God. It wasn’t even peppered with Scripture. It was a book of opinions. Later, months later, the Pastor pushed further asking me what I thought of the book, I gave an honest answer. I had read through the book by that time and found it a book of opinions. That along with other issues, I was asked to step down from my position and to leave that local body of believers because my beliefs didn’t line up with theirs.
Don’t get me wrong books have good content (some of them, fictional ones anyway); but let me say this, “I would rather read a book of fiction, such as “In His Steps” or “Ministry Mutiny”, than to read an instructional book that is replacing my time studying the Bible.” Scripture says to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15 (of course as you may have guess it, that is from the King James Version). Let me share it again but from the New International Version this time, “ Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” The “word of truth” that this passage (in whichever version you choose to read) is referring to reading the Scripture out of the inerrant Word of God, not a book written by a, author as they rightly divide the scriptures then give their opinion on what they read.
Then along comes us, the book club leader and ourselves, so that we can interpret the spiritual points of view by the author, digest their theories, and then contemplate their thoughts, and finally answer questions based on how we change what the author has said into an answer that goes along with what we have learned from the authors opinion.
In John 1:1 we see, in the King James Version, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”, and if it is easier for you in the New International Version, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Before the Bible was even composed onto scrolls, before even books were written, there was the Word. Wow, neither version speak of studying another book to understand God, yet they are identical.
For understanding we have only to read James 1:5 and again I will share first in the KJV and then the NIV, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” and “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Next let me take you to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 of the KJV: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”, and now to the NIV “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” If you have been following along to this point even God is saying you only need His Word and not anything else.
Please, STOP calling “book” clubs, Bible Studies. They are NOT the same thing. The recurring theme here is God’s Word over man’s words; not man’s word and then the Word of God, if you have time.
Let me say this; “Not everything written about God in books is bad, or negative, or any such thing.” Just be leary if you come across a Bible study, that is actually a book club, that does not even open the Bible. The Holy Ghost teaches us the things of God, man does not teach us the things of God, that again is the work of the Spirit of God.
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Yours faithfully, Elroy