A recent (October 02, 2020) article entitled “Why do I Need to Read the Bible When We Have Bible Teachers Online” by John Piper at the desiringGod.org website points out the importance of studying God’s Word for oneself as opposed to engaging the Bible through the filter of a human author. The link to the article is https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/why-do-i-need-to-read-the-bible-when-we-have-bible-teachers-online . I recommend you read the article.
Let me give you a brief summary.
The question put to Dr. Piper was:
Pastor John, what can I say to my friend that refuses to study the Bible for himself because he thinks he can get all the answers from teachers like you and others online? He thinks that hours spent listening to good and faithful expositions of Scripture is time better spent than reading the Bible for himself. He thinks sermons are less confusing and more efficient in his pursuit to comprehend the message of the Bible. How would you make the case otherwise?”
As his initial response, John Piper suggested that such a person meditate on the text of Psalm 119:97–100 (NET):
97 O how I love your law! All day long I meditate on it. 98 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for I am always aware of them. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your rules. 100 I am more discerning than those older than I, for I observe your precepts.
Based on Psalm 119:97-100, Dr. Piper presents a series of questions to ask someone who would rather read about God’s Word than actually read the Bible. For anyone who reads this post who is not a reader/studier, I suggest you ponder these questions. His first set of questions is:
Do you believe these words?
Do you believe the Scripture?
Do you believe that having the word of God with you, meditating on it day and night, and obeying it will bear better fruit of insight and wisdom in your life than always depending on other human teachers?
That’s the question facing you: Do you believe it? Are you content to be a second-hander for the rest of your life in view Psalm 119:99 and what it promises?
Dr. Piper’s second point pertains to the mandate to test everything. He cites the following two passages:
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV) – 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.
1 John 4:1 (ESV) – 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
In 2020, it is critical to evaluate all religious teaching that “comes down the pike.”
In reference to the obligation to test the spirits and to hold fast to what is good, the question Piper asks:
If you are using teachers, human teachers, as the sole means of understanding God’s word, by what will you judge the teachers with any confidence?
A third point deals with the heart. In reference to a heart-issue, he asks:
Why do you want to avoid the immediate, authentic experience of savoring your love letter by asking someone else to read it for you?
He ends with these three questions: (1) Do you believe Psalm 119:99? (2) How will you test the reliability of your teachers by the word of God? (3) Why do you want to avoid the immediate, authentic experience of savoring your love letter by asking someone else to read it for you?
Dr. Piper’s article sets out great questions for anyone who does not have a hunger and thirst to directly engage the Bible. If that is you, then I urge you to ask yourself these diagnostic questions!
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change. Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave comments in the comments section.
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