Key to Understanding! NOT Getting in Over Your Head!
Reading and studying the Bible is like learning to swim. If you don’t know how to swim, it is a very, very good idea not to jump in to waters that go over your head. Waters can be a type of the subjects found in the Bible. Some subjects are shallow and easier to grasp. While other subjects can be very complex and these represent the deep waters. For example, I use to never go into the book of Revelation and try to study that book, because it was so far over my head. Over the years I have learned a lot more and using what God has taught me I can now venture into these deep waters of the book of Revelation. Does that mean I understand everything in the book of Revelation? Definitely NOT! It only means that I have learned enough to start learning more. I have heard stories of many people who say that their dad threw them into the deep end of the pool and said learn to swim or drown. Of course you would realize that if they had drown he would have gone to jail for murder. Physically speaking it is not a good idea to learn to swim in the ocean. There are too many waves, currents and tides will cause you to more than likely die in your attempts to learn how to swim. These are all physical things that relate us to spiritual things that we face every day in our growth with God. We can learn some very valuable lessons that will help us tremendously if we apply these principles correctly.
Start by evaluating where you are now in your spiritual growth. Are you new in Christianity? If yes, then it is not good to try to study advanced deep subjects found in the Bible. Most of my blogs are very advanced and very deep. I deal with many complex subjects that many don’t have a clue on what they really mean. As a result I would strongly suggest that if you are not an advanced Bible student, that you not read my blogs. Go away and study the basics, and after a few years of studying the Bible on the basic foundational Christian concepts, then come back to the advanced stuff. I generally do not spend a lot of time trying to teach basic concepts of salvation, sin, good and evil, just to name a few of these basic topics.
This is what God said on the subject of getting in over your head when Paul wrote to the church in Corinth:
1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
Paul tells the church in Corinth they were not ready for the deep spiritual things of God because he said they were just baby Christians. God relates spiritual growth to physical growth of new born babies. When a baby is newly born you can’t give them a piece of corn on the cob and say here is your dinner. Why is that important to note? God relates some subjects in the Bible to be advanced topics that babies can’t grasp and use. These topics are not good for them in fact. Because they are not ready for the complex foods in God’s Word, they should avoid them. Otherwise, they could spiritually choke on them and this could cause them spiritual harm instead of helping them to grow up spiritually. God goes on in the next verse to differentiate between two distinct types of spiritual food:
1Co 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
We can see that these two contrasting views of God’s spiritual food are equated as being either milk or meat, liquid or solid. Just like you wouldn’t give a baby a steak off of the grill to eat, you don’t give baby Christians spiritual steak either. Steak or meat is equated to the more complex subjects found in the Bible. The milk is representative of the simple or basic subjects that we should all have intimate knowledge of to build a firm spiritual foundation upon. These are tremendously valuable lessons to learn and fully grasp. We must understand the basic subjects before we ever attempt to swallow the advanced subjects. To many times I read blogs and books that I can clearly see the author doesn’t know the basics, so how can they attempt to try to get anyone to see anything advanced. If you don’t understand the basics you will never understand the advanced topics. In fact to a baby Christian, the advanced topic is dangerous.
Learn the lesson of swimming. Before you get in over your head make sure you are familiar with the shallow basic concepts found in the Bible. The deep things of God will come much easier and you will not spiritually drown because you panicked in waters that were over your head. But, here is another aspect to consider. Most babies don’t know they are babies. Because babies don’t understand the dangers of deep waters they will many times wander into them and not be able to get out. Many children have died because they were unsupervised and fell into the water and could not get out. If you are a mature Christian or at least a maturing Christian, keep this in mind when talking to others who are new to the faith in Christ. Help to guide the new Christians into the right paths of study. That is exactly why I recommended many not read my blog. If you are a new Christian you will be much more comfortable with someone’s ministry that is geared at your level of spiritual development. That is in fact a lesson from life, children must go through kindergarten before they go to high school or even 1st Grade. There is a progressive learning experience that you must develop in. Most immature Christians will reject what I teach, simply because I’m not at their level. If a 1st grader sat in a college level Algebra class, they wouldn’t get anything out of it.
I’ll try to end this blog with another contrasting bit of information of how to determine your level of spiritual growth. God gives us some very specific clues to judging ourselves based upon the next scripture in 1 Corinthians:
1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
God contrasts those who are focused on carnal and natural things with those who are focused on spiritual things. Baby Christians tend to be focused on natural things that occur in the world, while spiritually maturing Christians look beyond these natural things and focus in on the things of God only found in His Word. The difference is where they place their emphasis and focus. This verse in 1 Corinthians said these people were jealous of one another. They were fighting and bickering about stupid things that didn’t matter. If you read people’s blogs you can see examples of this type of behavior everywhere. Trivial stuff is promoted to a level of importance that is worthless to our spiritual growth. People fight over what they think is right and ignore what God said. Then there are naturalist who want the church to focus on saving the environment, the planet, the trees, or the whales. Too many times people are focused on things that God cares very little about. If people would see what God cares about, there would not be any abortions.
1Co 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
God asks a very simple question here and makes a spiritual point that is beyond most people’s understanding. We have broad examples of this verse in our world today. One says, I am a Catholic. One says I am a Baptist. Another one says I am a Methodist, or whatever. Everyone echoing the same thought process that Paul confronted in Corinth. If you think your church is the only true church and everyone else is going to hell, you are deceived into believing a lie. The church of Jesus Christ is not a denomination. There is only One Body of Christ, there is only One Bride of Christ and these two are one in the same. There are legitimate and true Christians in every division of the body, but there are also false teachers and deceivers in every denomination out there. How will you know the difference? Jesus said you will know them by their fruit. Watch their natural life over time and see if they live according to the Bible. Judge what they say and do by what you know and understand in the Bible. You must focus in on the Bible and learn it and use it and only it to control what you think and do. The Bible contains the only truth that you will ever find on this planet. As you continue in the Word of God you will grow spiritually and become more spiritually mature. As you continue to feed your spirit using God’s spiritual food you will see that many good fruits will begin to spring forth and start to dominate your life. It is time for us to grow up spiritually:
Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Paul in this verse written to the church, informs them that there are many basic things that they should be moving beyond. God describes to us a process of growth as well as the goal of spiritual maturity. “Perfection” is just a word that means to become mature. Not a child anymore, not acting like a child, not dressing like a child, not doing childish things. The process of spiritual growth is patterned after natural growth. Eating properly and getting spiritual exercise will go a long way to helping you grow spiritually.
These are all valuable spiritual lessons for us to apply to our understanding of the Bible. I hope that you at least grasped the concepts and that you will continue to grow in the knowledge of the One True Living God.
Posted on January 7, 2010, in Bible Interpretation, Keys to Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Interpretation, Jesus, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.