Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Me and my Bible is all I need"

Last time I posted a review of Hendricks’ wonderful Living By the Book. When the topic of learning to study the Bible comes up, I occasionally hear someone say something to the effect that “me and my Bible is all I need.”

Some people think that the Holy Spirit will provide all they need to understand the Bible. This notion is apparently not new; St. Augustine dealt with these people in his day. He noted that we all learn language from other people – generally our parents.

“Now, then, suppose we advise all our brethren not to teach their children any of these things, because on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit the apostles immediately began to speak the language of every race; and warn every one who has not had a like experience that he need not consider himself a Christian, or may at least doubt whether he has yet received the Holy Spirit? No, no; rather let us put away false pride and learn whatever can be learnt from man…” (On Christian Doctrine, preface)

He also mentions the story of a man given the ability to read miraculously; no one will refuse to teach his children to read because the Spirit did this one time. The fact that the Spirit can teach us whatever He wants doesn’t mean He will teach us what we want.

We should not presume and should take advantage of every opportunity to learn whatever we can from whomever may teach us. This is especially true in this area which is of such great importance. We must all work carefully to learn to properly understand the Bible that God has given us.

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