Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Idea that We Should Read the Bible Every Day

I wonder how many of us are actually led by the Spirit to read the bible. Most of us think we are supposed to do it so we find a place to read & pray "God teach me what this scripture means." Since we prayed the prayer we assume that whatever we think when we are done reading must be what it means. We assume we have no bias in an unrenewed part of our mind that will block us from the truth. Jesus even said, "the traditions of men stop the word of God." So if you believe in those traditions or traditional doctrines how do you expect to learn from God? You've already stopped Him from teaching you with your presuppositions. Considering all these things why do we think we can randomly pick a place in scripture & God will show us the full truth of it?

Because I thought I was supposed to I read the bible every single day from February 1999 to November 2006 & I learned almost nothing. I read through the bible in a year based on one of those plans & all I remember was crowning Leviticus as the boringest book. We can be like a 2nd grader opening up a calculus book & pointing to a random page saying, "Teach me this." There is a lot to learn before you can get there. Yet with scripture we assume that any place is a good place to start & that we won't deceive ourselves in our ignorance while reading it. Churches pretty much tell us, "Forget about knowing the gospel or being rooted & grounded in God's loving grace for you, just start reading the bible somewhere & listening to sermons & everything will be ok." Life doesn't work like that!

I picture God answering our prayer like this, "How can I teach you that scripture? I didn't even tell you to read that. You need to learn 7 more things & unlearn 36 more things before you can be ready to learn what that says."

Legalistic bible reading (seeing it all as law or even reading it as an obligation because you think it is a law to do so) leads to self-condemnation more than anything else. Scripture hopping, chapter picking, or even reading along with a commentary often result in you believing falsehood even deeper than if you had never picked up the bible at all.

When God said, "My word will not return to me void" He wasn't talking about the reading of His scriptures, He was talking about the effectiveness of His promises. Maybe we should stop thinking "the scriptures will guide us into all truth" & believe what Jesus actually said, "The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth."

It is great to trust God to teach you the scriptures. But when is it a good idea for the student to say "teach me this" when the wise teacher knows the student is not ready to learn that yet? Jesus said "the Holy Spirit would guide you into all truth" not "you will guide yourself & the Holy Spirit will still get you to all truth." Sure you'll get some truth that way but life will end up being insanely harder & much more wasteful. I know I've been there.

See also:  The Meaning of "My Word shall not return to Me void"


  1. How do you know God was not talking about His word when He said his word would not return to Him void? If God wanted to mean "the effectiveness of His promises" couldn't He have said exactly that? Of course He could God uses precise speech. This is exactly the sort of Bible interpretation that lead Christians to get off base. For anyone to say God didn't really mean that is saying in reality say I am God. Instead of taking scripture as plain sense I can interpret scripture any way I want is shaky theology. The way satan tempted Eve was to ask did God really say? Should you read your Bible everyday? The Bereans did what? They searched the scriptures every day. And they had a better character. Did you pray before you read the Bible? Or did you try to learn on your own? Jesus did say "the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth." What do think He was talking about? If you believe the Holy Spirit will guide you on your own without knowing the scriptures you are on sinking sand. And you will be deceived. We can all say well God told me. But what if God tells me something completely opposite of what He tells you? You can never be completely certain who you are listening to. Do you believe the enemy can speak to you and you believe it is God? If you said no then you are already deceived. Jim Jones said God told me. David Koresh said God told me. Joesph Smith said God told me. Charles Russell said God told me. See the problem with God told me without a foundation? In all my years as a Christian God has never told me anything that didn't match plain sense scripture. I know a man who has all the appearances of being a godly man who said God told him to leave his wife and family and chase another woman around the world. Would I have to believe God told him that because he said God told him? You seem to have a great bias against the orthodox church and the body of Christ. It is if you are saying I'm a free thinker and I will believe what I want to believe. Michael, there have been thinkers far better than either of us who have studied these things. And they have been for the most part far better listeners to God's Holy Spirit than either of us may ever be. But they stuck hard to scripture. Most of these ended with orthodoxy and plain sense interpretation. They are in heaven now awaiting the the completion of God's plan of redemption.

    1. "How do you know God was not talking about His word [I assume you meant scripture] when He said his word would not return to Him void?"

      In Isaiah 55:11 God says, "My word which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me void, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." Jesus said in Mark 7:13, "The traditions of men make void the word of God." So in one place God says His word can't be made void & in another He says it can, thus these must be talking about different "words."

      God got the idea across in Isaiah 55:11 of, "I will accomplish what I desire." Something like that pertains to keeping promises. God makes a similar statement in Isaiah 45:23 while making a specific promise at the end, "I have sworn (made a promise) by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance." Remember also 2 Timothy 2:13, "If we are faithless, He remains faithful. He cannot deny himself."

      Another interesting thing about Isaiah 55:10-11 is that it is actually future tense. He says, "the word from my mouth shall be as trustworthy as the rain coming from above to water the earth before it evaporates." Thus, at the very least, we cannot assume "the word" He is speaking about is scripture written before Isaiah.

      In Mark 7:5-13 Jesus first quotes Moses (scripture) then He quotes a tradition which makes a truth claim. Here the "word of God" being referred to is the truth of God found in scripture. It can be made void by man made traditions.

      The parable of the sower in Matthew 13 also gives us this idea of the word/truth of God being made void. There Jesus speaks of "the word of the kingdom" referring to the truth of the kingdom, something we now have written in scripture. Jesus says "the word can be snatched away by the evil one," "the word can fall away because of affliction or persecution," & that "the word can be choked & made unfruitful by the worries of the world & the deceitfulness of wealth."

      So it is evident from the teachings of Jesus & the original context of Isaiah 55:11 itself, God saying, "My word will not return to Me void" does not refer to scripture or the reading of it but instead to the effectiveness of His promises.

  2. You said, "If you believe the Holy Spirit will guide you on your own without knowing the scriptures you are on sinking sand."
    Show me a scripture that proves such a claim. What did the centuries of illiterate Gentile Christians do before the printing press? They couldn't learn ANYTHING from God?

    "Do you believe the enemy can speak to you and you believe it is God?"
    Of course & he can twist the scriptures better than anyone.

    I never said the Spirit wouldn't teach the same truth that the scriptures hold. This post was about how He is the teacher. Plenty of people learn the scriptures without the Holy Spirit or His guidance. I was making the same point you make saying to consult Him before reading the bible.

    It is easy for someone to say "God told me" but it is even easier to say "the bible says.." & take something out of context or misinterpret it, in fact more people will follow you & believe you if you start with "the bible says.." than if you said "God told me."

    Sorry if you missed my point. I didn't think quoting a scripture about the Holy Spirit leading us to all truth in a post about listening to the Spirit to find out when to read the bible & where would make someone think I'm saying they can recklessly label things as the voice of God. Really not sure how what I said in this post warranted that thought.

    God has never told me something that didn't match scripture either but He's shown me countless times that I've been wrong about what I thought the scripture said (mostly because I listened to what someone else told me it said).

    You said,
    "there have been thinkers far better than either of us who have studied these things. And they have been for the most part far better listeners to God's Holy Spirit than either of us may ever be."
    If you keep using this excuse to trust men you've never met over God who lives inside of you it will keep you from truth as long as you live.

    1. My answer is flying around out there in cyber-space. I hope it shows up. I may never get the hang of this stuff. Pleas forgive me of my misunderstanding. If it doesn't show up then let me just answer one point you made. And that is "what did centuries of illiterate..." First they were not illiterate until the catholic church made it illegal to read. Secondly, the OT was complete and written in one volume 250 years before Jesus. Remember the church was mostly Jewish in the beginning. They memorized great portions of scripture. And many more than likely had access to the OT in written form. The Dead Sea Scrolls which was written before the time of Jesus and included every book except Esther is an example. Lastly, the gospels were written and circulated to the churches by 60AD. And the rest of the NT was written down and passed around to the churches by 100AD. When any church received a gospel or letter it was meticulously copied and passed it to another church. So when they were compiled into the NT as we know it today in about 250AD they were able to compare all of the letters and throw out the ones that didn't match the rest. What a unique way God chose to compile His word. So the church didn't have the NT in one volume but the church did have the complete Bible 300 years before the earliest beginning of the catholic church. The printing press only speed-ed up the process of the reformation. It didn't start the church. God always had a remnant church but they had to hide from the Roman church or be murdered. So yes they had the scriptures to learn from and they could learn from God.

    2. This is my fourth effort at a reply. Don't know where my other 3 went. First let me say I'm sorry I misunderstood you. Please forgive me. I suppose the first line you quoted I misspoke. What I meant was if you are depending on the Spirit's guidance outside of the parameters of scriptures (in other words on your own)you are on sinking sand. I didn't notice that before this 4th try. The second thing I would like to address is "centuries of illiterate...." The Christians were not illiterate until the catholic church brought darkness over a great part of the world. The OT was compiled and written in Greek in one volume 250 years before Jesus. The early church had the OT. Remember the early church was mostly Jewish and Jews memorized scripture. Many had written copies as well. The Dead Sea Scrolls which were written before the time of Jesus and found in 1948 were an example of this. These scrolls contained all of the books except Esther. By the way these scrolls matched the scriptures as we have them today. The gospels were written and circulated among the churches around 60AD. The rest of the NT was circulated from church to church before 100AD. When a church received at letter or a gospel it was meticulously copied and passed on to another church where it was copied and passed. So almost all congregations had the entirety of the NT. Consequently when the church was able to compile the NT into one volume they gathered all of the copies and threw out the ones that didn't match the others. What a grand way God had planned to preserve His word. So the church had Bibles at least 300 years before the evilness of the catholic church started. There was a remnant church all during the 1000 year reign of mayhem of the Roman Church and they had a Bible. The Roman Church killed 6 million of them trying to wipe them out completely but God didn't allow it. And the church certainly could hear everything from God. The printing press helped to speed up the reformation it did not present the first Bibles, it only printed more copies.
      Lastly, I hardly ever use commentaries, I depend on God's revelation in scripture. What I meant was those who have come before us have paved the way with their blood. We should at least consider what they believed as orthodox. They set the parameters of orthodoxy. I'm not talking of church tradition, some of which is wrong or denominational doctrine, great chunks of which is wrong. We should consider what they believed so strongly they were willing to die for it and see if it is the truth according to scripture. Rebellion should not be in our hearts for the sake of being different. Scripture says when we all reach the same conclusions we will be like-minded which is His will for us.

  3. Sorry, I moderate this blog's comments so I can see all of the comments that are posted so they don't show up until I review them. I don't know of another way for me to see all of the comments made.

    Illiterate means not educated enough to know how to read. I wasn't talking about availability I was talking about capability. There are tons of illiterate people today across the world.

    "Rebellion should not be in our hearts for the sake of being different."
    Not sure why you assume this. I have long studied conclusions & reasons for what I say, I may not reveal every aspect of that in a single post but who could? There is nothing I post that I don't have scriptural, experiential, & logical reasons for doing so.