Thursday, May 2, 2024

Yes, YOU Can Study the Bible!

Recently I was interviewed by a YouTuber on the subject of New Testament textual criticism -- all those variant readings in your Bible's footnotes. I'm not sure I was as clear as I wanted to be. But if there's one point I'd like to drive home, it's this. The world of Bible study is for every one of us. You can study the Bible for yourself and understand it correctly. If you can read, you can do it. This is what makes Bible study so wonderful. God has not reserved the Bible for scholars or the intellectually superior. All you need is the Bible, a pen, some paper, prayer, and the Spirit of God. 

My Bible time this morning was in Acts 4 where, incidentally, Peter and John are called "unlearned and ignorant" (KJV) by the Sanhedrin. The Jewish leaders used the terms pejoratively, with utter disdain for the apostles. Yet Peter and John were more skilled in understanding the truth than the scholars of Jerusalem. The apostles had not been to seminary. They were "obviously uneducated and untrained men" (Phillips). Yet this they could understand: God reveals himself not to the wordly wise but to the spiritually sensitive. 

Sadly, many if not most Christians today remain underequipped, uninformed, unarmed, and unprepared to withstand the devastating seductions of theological liberalism and political wokeism. Therefore, the goal of my entire teaching and writing career has been to teach my fellow believers some skills that will help them to study the Bible for themselves. It is absolutely essential for each of us -- men or women, young or old, educated or uneducated -- to understand the importance and value of knowing the truth. To do that, we must know God's word.

At the end of the interview I tried to encourage the audience not to be intimidated by the presence of textual variants in the Bible. We have not lost a single word of the New Testament. Not a single word. The original will be found either in the text or the notes. But it's there. Since I am not sitting right there with you (although I would love to do so), let me ask you to consider making an effort to understand the basics of New Testament textual criticism. You can begin with this free resource. If you truly want to learn how to study your Bible, you have to do your part. Now is the time to get active.