Building blocks to true religion
What Must I do to be Saved?
   
   

"...teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wondrous works."

Psalm 119:26-27

 

Bible Basics

 Bible

BUILDING BLOCKS TO TRUE RELIGION.

Knowledge the First Step

It could be said that communication is the key to gaining knowledge. In order to learn we must be prepared to take in information being conveyed to us by a variety of methods. People learn by using the five senses to understand what they see, hear, taste, smell and feel. But in order to gain knowledge we must be willing to be taught, willing to learn and to gain experience It is logical that our Creator would want us to learn about Him and His ways, that He would want us to know about Him and why He made us in the first place. God communicates with us in many ways, one of which is by the experiences in our own lives of His creation. We read in Psalm 19:1-4

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."

And Paul spoke to the men of Athens saying:

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being." Acts 17:24-28

So one aspect of knowledge about God is gained from what we learn and experience from all of creation about us. Thus the first building block in learning about God comes from the realisation that creation teaches us about the existence, wonder and greatness of our Creator. It is thus logical that God intends that we should be able to learn about him, so how do we go about this?

Building block 1. Knowing where to get knowledge from.

We read in Proverbs 30:5 "Every word of God is flawless".

The ultimate origin of the Bible is God. Though written by men, the Bible is entirely the word God, itís writers chosen by Him to write down the scriptures. We read:

"And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2Peter 1:19-21

and

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work". 2Tim 3:16-17

The Prophets did not take it upon themselves to write, but were specifically called by God to speak His word. God said:

"I spoke to the prophets, gave them many visions and told parables through them." Hosea 12:10

and God said to the prophet Jeremiah:

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." "Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, `I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you". Jeremiah 1:5-7

The word of God can be trusted and never fails, but we must not added to what is written nor take away from what is written (Rev 22:18-19). The word of God is the only source of truth and knowledge.

Building block 2. Making effort to gain knowledge.

It takes effort to learn about the word of God and gain the knowledge of salvation. It is very important that we do not come to Godís word with preconceived ideas! What is needed is a humble open mind willing to seek out the Truth and let the Bible interpret itself.

Some Doís & Do notís

DO:

bullet Look first to the Bible for answers to questions
bullet Read all of the Bible to find answers to your questions
bullet Use clear passages to explain more difficult ones
bullet Write down your questions [It may be a while before you get answers

Donít:

bullet Expect quick answers
bullet Look at isolated passages and draw conclusions

May God bless you in your study of His word.

Have you ever assembled one of those self assembly furniture kits of childís toy. You started of fully convinced how easy it must be to put it all together, then it goes wrong and you get frustrated? You find bits left over or the wrong way round. There is a modern day proverb "when all else fails, read the instructions." The self assembly of furniture would have gone right if maybe the instructions had been read and followed more closely. This is equally true of reading the Bible. We need to learn from our experiences in life and recognize that the key to easier ( though not easy) understanding of the Bible is found within its own pages. A basic principle of reading the Bible lies in the simple fact that:

Your questions about what the Bible teaches are answered in the Bible.

The answers may be found in the same chapter or elsewhere, for example:

Christ's explanation of the parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:3-8 is found in Matthew 13:18-23 (note the verses are not adjacent but are in the same chapter)

However in other cases we need to look in other books of the Bible for answers (especially New vs Old Testament) The answer to who it was that spoke to Moses in the incident of the burning bush is found by comparing Old and New testament writings. If we do, we find out that it was an angel who spoke to Moses in the burning bush. Exodus 3:4 compared with Acts 7:30-31

Building Block 3. Do you want knowledge?

Having found out where to seek knowledge from and then realised it takes effort to get knowledge the final stage is to decide we actually want to learn! Commitment is needed. We need to be motivated to gain knowledge for knowledge involves learning and a willingness to learn! The only way to get knowledge from the Bible is to read it. So how does one gain knowledge? How should we read the Bible?

1. By prayerful reading Godís word. It comes down to attitude. We read in Isaiah 57:15 "For this is what the high and lofty One says--he who lives for ever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit." God is willing to hear our prayers if we approach Him with the right attitude, having a willingness to accept what we read.

2. By making time and effort! Knowledge does not come without making time to learn. God says through the prophet Isaiah: 

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David." Isaiah 55:1-3

and:

"Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding." Proverbs 23:23

The word of God is free, it costs us nothing except the time and effort to read and learn.

3. By taking things slowly! God never revealed anything all at once and has always taught a sure slow effective method of achieving a task. Paul wrote:

"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son." Hebrews 1:1

God has revealed His word to us in the scriptures. There is a wonderful message of hope and salvation, but as with so many things in life, we must make time and effort to learn, understand and believe what we read. You cannot speed read the Bible.

Understanding is promised those seek diligently for it. We must ask in faith for guidance, but understanding is assured if we are patient to receive it. Jesus promised:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew. 7:7-8

But we must ask sincerely, believing that God will answer our plea, for James writes:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord". James 1:5-7

 

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