Author: Ron Graham
Untruths About God’s Truths
—Four common misconceptions
This is a Bible lesson about the Bible itself. We look at four ideas that are commonly expressed about the Bible. These ideas are false. We need to be aware of these untruths about God’s truth, because they undermine the authority of the Bible as God’s word.
1 First Untruth —“You Cannot Understand God’s Word”
When the human mind turns to revelations from God, it may mistakenly expect something too deep and mysterious for ordinary understanding. However, God’s words have never been too difficult either to understand or to obey.
When Moses was giving God’s law to his people, he said, "What I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you. It is not beyond your reach" (Deuteronomy 30:11).
When Paul wrote by divine inspiration to the Corinthians, he said, "I do not write to you anything more than what you can read and understand" (2Corinthians 1:13).
Later Paul said, "I fear lest... you should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2Corinthians 11:3).
Peter admits that Paul’s letters "contain some things hard to understand" but not too hard. Peter blames distortions of what Paul said, not on any complexity in Paul’s letters, but on the readers being "ignorant and unstable" (2Peter 3:15-16).
God’s word is meant to be understood and God made it simple enough to be understood.
2 Second Untruth —“You Need to be a Scholar”
Are the scriptures so complicated and difficult that one needs higher education to understand them? Don’t get me wrong. Scholarship is not a bad thing. However not everyone can be a scholar. It would be very unfair of God to make his word available only to those with the ability and opportunity to be scholars.
There is the problem, too, that many scholars think God’s word is foolishness and many scholars are confounded by God’s word (Isaiah 29:14, 1Corinthians 1:18-31).
Paul is a good example. He was a scholar of some note, and his was the era of enlightenment and wisdom from such scholars as Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato. His own teacher was the eminent Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). But it took an experience on the road to Damascus to really 'educate' Paul and awaken him to the truth.
Paul’s scholarship had not enlightened him (Acts 22:6). When Paul later stood up in the Areopagus to address scholars of his day, his message was impressively simple (Acts 17:22-31).
It is not scholarship as such, but "a love of the truth" and the will to do God’s will —that is what you need (2Thessalonians 2:10-11, John 7:17).
It is a pity to waste your life reading too many books of uninspired men whose theories contradict each other. Rather be devoted to the words of the prophets of God, and of Jesus and his apostles (Eccl 12:9-14, 2Peter 3:2).
As we leave this point, here’s an appropriate thought...
- Skill in calculus is not essential to doing your tax return.
- Knowing chemistry doesn’t necessarily make you a good cook.
- Understanding photosynthesis doesn’t make you an expert gardener.
- Being a scholar does not ensure that you understand the scriptures.
3 Third Untruth —“You Need a Key to the Scriptures”
Some feel that you have to know some kind of key or system to unlock the "secrets" hidden in the Bible. But the gospel itself is "the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past" (Romans 16:25).
Note carefully what Paul says there. The New Testament is not a mystery needing some key. It is a revelation. It is the key that unlocks and opens the door of understanding.
The Bible is not "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." The Bible explains the mysteries and explains itself. It is "a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" (Psalms 119:105).
One part of the Bible is the key to another part. No system or key devised by man will help. All you need to do is discover the Bible’s own answers to the questions it raises, and the Bible’s own interpretations of itself.
4 Fourth Untruth —“The Bible is Out of Date”
The Bible is an ancient book. Even the New Testament is nearly 2000 years old, and the Old Testament is older still.
Many people take the attitude that anything more than 25 years old is incomprehensible and so far out of date as to be shrouded in the mists of time. Well, honesty is thousands of years old. So are justice and mercy. So are courage and love.
You can think of a lot of things that are ancient, yet by no means past their 'use by' date. The Bible is about such things (Micah 6:8, Galatians 5:22-23).
The world’s most ancient problem is sin, yet the problem still exists and still needs to be solved. The solution to sin is also ancient, yet it is still the only solution that has ever been found. The only way to reconcile man with his Maker is an ancient way. The only place where that solution is revealed, is in the Bible.
The Bible is old books yet not out of date because it tells us about Jesus the only way to God (John 14:6). Moreover, it tells us about the future coming of Jesus (2Peter 3:9-14). Thus the Bible will never be out of date while ever Earth remains.