Larry Sheehy-032711Listen to Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy.
One of my Bible professors in Graduate School tried to drum into our head the principle that reading the Bible doesn't always lead to understanding it. Nor does comprehension always lead to obedience. The motives of people for reading the Bible are not always as high or pure as they must be to benefit fully from the revelation of God's will.
Human inadequacies make it highly unlikely (to say the least!) any of us will grasp everything the Bible says fully. But, since understanding any instructions is important. we do need to try to comprehend all of we can. Our desire to know and do God's will help assure our knowledge of the truthfulness of God's word: Jesus said, "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." (John 7:17)
The aim of this article is to say something about the importance of Jesus' words, as recorded in the first century A. D. Gospel, or "Good News," accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
1. The first and most obvious point is one similar to that made by John toward the close of his account: "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:31) As with his miracles, what Jesus said is intended to lead people to faith and life in him. "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." (Jn. 6:63)
2. Another important consideration is that Jesus only said what his Father told him to say. "I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me." (Jn. 8:28 "These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." (Jn. 14:24) Here is one of the mysteries of deity. Jesus is God, and yet he paid deference to God the Father.
3. A third and final thought for now is that Jesus didn't say everything. Rather, as he said to his apostles on the night of his betrayal, I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." (Jn. 16:12-13)
Because they couldn't "bear" (or, literally, "carry") everything they would need to know as time passed, they were given it through the Holy Spirit when they could. Some have the erroneous idea that we ought to pay more attention to what Jesus said in the Gospels than to what Paul, Peter and others said in the Epistles. But Jesus' own words deny such an idea, and Paul insisted that what he wrote was the Lord's command (1 Cor. 14:37).
I hope all can grow, both in the time spent reading God's word, and in our understanding and willingness to "put it into practice."