Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
All gas internal combustion engines require three things to operate: fuel, spark, and compression. If one of the three is working improperly, a number of symptoms can arise. This is an oversimplification, of course, but those three systems must be mostly operable in order to be usable.
Troubleshooting can be expensive if a person has little or no experience with this common engine type. Learning to maintain a vehicle and enact basic repairs saves an enormous amount of money! Relying on someone else to do it is often very costly.
We fully understand that not everyone is equipped to be a scholar-level theologian. However, many Christians take this idea and swing the opposite direction. How many have been Christians for decades and have just a basic understanding of scripture? How many multi-generational Christians snore at the thought of advanced biblical studies? How many have only the knowledge they retain from a sermon? How many base their understanding and beliefs on the values held by respected friends or family?
No one is perfect; the more a person learns through deep bible study, the more they are confronted with their own inadequacies. But a dedicated student of the scriptures also gains this:
- A profound appreciation for grace and its role in our practical lives.
- Mind-blowing discoveries and realizations about the nature of God and eternity that bullet-proof our faith.
- The full emotional and intellectual impact of biblical principles.
- A deeper understanding of the goals, message(s), meaning, and practical applications of a book.
- A heartwarming and emotion-eliciting appreciation for the role of The Word, Jesus, and His hand in creation, sustaining the genetic line that brought about His physical death, the timeless sacrifice He made by subjecting Himself eternally to the Father, and the role He plays today on our behalf.
- An ability to defend the faith, refute false doctrine, convert a lost soul, and build faith in others.
- An ability to avoid sin more effectively.
- A far lesser likelihood of accepting false doctrines or harmful practices.
- Excitement, joy, and fulfillment about being a Christian!
- A great disdain for arguments over petty issues that are weakening the church, and the ability to shut them down and refute them soundly.
As a bonus, learning to read and translate Greek or Hebrew (at least with the help of a lexicon, a decent understanding of rules of each language, and their proper application in each context) will give even more profound insight into words and concepts we read in our native translations.
Relying on what others tell us is not sufficient! We may find that the cost, eternally, is far steeper than what we would pay to the most expensive mechanic for repairs we could do at a fraction of the cost. Not only will we gain a great appreciation for what we know and live by becoming true Bible students, but it also greatly enhances our ability to live a faithful Christian life.