The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. You may have one or more copies yourself. But are you really reading it?
It may be the biggest selling book of all time, but it is also the least understood. And I’m talking about Christians who don’t understand it.
Why is it not understood?
There are many Bibles in the world, but a lot of them are not read. Even among Christians there are many who own Bibles, but never read them.
A survey done by the Barna Group a few years ago suggested that roughly half of Christians read the Bible less than once a month. Of these, roughly 12% do not open the Bible at all.
So, for these Christians it’s pretty obvious why they don’t understand the scriptures. You can’t understand something you rarely or don’t even read.
But what about Christians who do read the Bible? Do they really understand it?
The Bible is not understood by many Christians
The simple fact is, when you read the Bible and hear what some Christians believe and say, it’s clear they don’t get it. They read the words but they don’t understand what they mean. And for the most part, the Bible can be understood literally. What you read is what you get.
You don’t need a degree in theology to understand it. It was written for the common man to understand. Even if you don’t understand something, the Lord promised to show you if you ask Him.
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew chapter 7, verses 7-8)
Five questions to test what you understand
So, how much do you really understand? Let’s try a little quiz to see what you know versus what the Bible says.
1. Are you a sinner?
2. Are you under the law?
3. Do you condemn yourself?
4. Do you ever judge others?
5. Do you think you can be perfect?
Got your answers ready? OK, let’s see what the Bible says. Some of the answers may surprise you!
Answers from the Bible
The scriptures are quite clear regarding all of these questions.
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John chapter 1, verse 29)
“How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans chapter 6, verse 2)
Based on these two scriptures alone, Jesus has taken away your sins and you are now dead to sin. So, how can you be a sinner?
“Likewise, my brethren, you have died to the law through the body of Christ” (Romans chapter 7, verse 4)
“But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.” (Romans chapter 7, verse 6)
If you have died to the law in Christ, why do Christians still think they are under it?
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans chapter 8, verse 1)
Why do Christians walk in condemnation when the Bible tells us there is no condemnation now?
“Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matthew chapter 7, verse 1)
“There is one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you that you judge your neighbour?” (James chapter 4, verse 12)
One of the great criticisms of Christians is that they are so judgemental. But the scripture tells us not to judge and that there is only one judge, who is God.
“You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew chapter 5, verse 48)
“Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matthew chapter 19, verse 21)
Scripture tells us we MUST be perfect and that we can be perfected if and when we follow Christ.
How did you do?
The scripture is quite clear on all of these points, and yet many Christians believe the reverse of what these scriptures are saying?
Just consider that last question. Who in all of Christendom believes that it is possible to stand in perfection before God?
Probably no-one, or not very many at best.
But the scripture is clear that if you want to see God, “You MUST be perfect.” No if’s, but’s, or maybe’s in that statement!
Read your Bible
The scripture also tells us HOW to become perfect. Follow Jesus. And if you want to know how to follow Jesus, you have to read and understand the Bible, praying over things you don’t understand.
Don’t blindly accept what others say.Find out for yourself, because if your answer to any of these questions is different to what the scriptures say, then you don’t yet know as you need to know. The answers are all in the word, but you have to find them. And remember, the Lord promised to help when you diligently seek.
Since retiring from work, John Lemmon now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, online and offline, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his website: freegiftfromgod.com/ or listen to his podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-free-gift-from-god-podcast/id1440682375