On Knowing The Bible

John David Clark, Sr. - February, 1989

There are two obstacles to overcome in order for us to attain to a viable knowledge of the Bible. The first is the fear that it is too great a task to undertake. It is not too great a task. The stories in both Testaments are exciting, educational, and written so simply that a child can read them and, with occasional help of an adult, comprehend their meaning. My children do. I have often wondered why phrases in the Bible are repeated, but then I learned that repetition is a fundamental tool of education. Television programs for children constantly repeat material, the ABC's, numbers, and animal names. The writers know that if the children are to learn, they must have the information repeated. The more important the information, the more frequently it must be repeated.

Do not be afraid to pick up the Bible and start reading it. And don't be concerned about missing the "true meaning" of the stories. Just forget about that, and read it. As a teacher of the Bible, I have learned that some folk do not learn the Bible, in spite of doing much study, because they're too busy trying to interpret everything. They pay insufficient attention to the Bible itself, fearing that they may read the Bible and not understand the "deep meaning" of it. Some people waste small fortunes on books to help them get the "real meaning" of the Bible. As they become bogged down in the theologies and theories which they find in commentaries and "study guides", a feeling of despair of ten grips them, and they sorrowfully give up their noble quest, with an "I'll never be able to understand the Bible" attitude. But in virtually all such cases, they have not given the Bible--just the Bible--a chance. Fear kept them from being simple, and simplicity is what God requires of those who want to learn of Him. Step One in learning the Bible is to get rid of all Commentaries, along with Bibles with footnotes everywhere, and just read the Bible. The Bible is far simpler than are the books written to explain what it is saying.

For those of you who would be just starting to read the Bible, do not be intimidated by the thought that everyone else already knows more than you know. I began studying the Bible assumming that everyone else already knew it, but I soon found that very few people know it at all. Amazingly, the ones who held it up the highest, proclaiming that knowing the Bible is essential often knew very little about what was in it! It was very surprising to me that such was the case. This fact brings us to the second, curious obstacle that must be overcome in order to learn the Bible; to wit, assuming that we already know the Bible without reading it.

That may at first sound incredible, but it is a very real fact of life that has kept many from a true knowledge of the Bible. They assume that because they know Christianity’s teachings that they know the Bible. They assume that because they have attended Sunday School or because they are in the choir that they know the Bible. They assume that because they hold an office in their church, or because they have taken a course on how to teach the Bible, that they know the Bible. They assume because they can quote a few New Testament Scriptures by heart that they know the Bible. And most dangerous of all, they assume that because a man is called a Minister, he knows the Bible. My friends, you don't know the Bible unless you know the Bible. And you don’t know who else knows or doesn’t know the Bible unless you know the Bible. And if you don't know the Bible, you're a "sitting duck" for those who will tell you that they know it, yet are liars.

One of the commendable qualities of the Pastor of the Church at Ephesus, according to Jesus (the Expert on commendable qualities), was that he was able to put men to the test: "Thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars" (Rev. 3:2).

Take this simple little Bible test now, and see how much you really know about the Book of books. Answer these questions either TRUE or FALSE. And remember, this isn't a test on what you believe. It is a test only on

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

_____ 1. The place where the wicked will spend eternity is hell.

_____ 2. The phrase "GET SAVED" is found in the Bible.

_____ 3. Angels have wings.

_____ 4. Man has wickedly created many evil ways of living.

_____ 5. In the Old Testament, a day begins when the sun goes down.

_____ 6. "Firmament" is another word for "earth."

_____ 7. As far as we are told, Adam named all the animals, except the creatures that lived in the sea.

_____ 8. The devil deceived Eve.

_____ 9. God cursed the serpent as well as Adam and Eve.

_____ 10. The one who asked Eve to eat the forbidden fruit was the serpent.

_____ 11. The "forbidden fruit" was an apple.

_____ 12. Some of the animals came by sevens, not by twos, into Noah’s ark.

_____ 13. All who faithfully trust in Jesus will live forever with him in heaven.

_____ 14. The three kings who came to see the baby Jesus, came from the east.

_____ 15. The flood destroyed all the creatures outside Noah’s ark, whether on land, in the sea, or in the air.

_____ 16. The disciples were "born again" before the day of Pentecost.

_____ 17. When the devil himself puts a curse on someone, nobody but the Lord or someone anointed by him can deliver that person.

_____ 18. Every time someone in the book of Acts was baptized with the holy Ghost, it is recorded that they spoke in tongues.

_____ 19. The waters of the great flood came from two directions: from heaven and from underneath the earth.

_____ 20. The Bible is the Word of God.

Well, how did you do? Were you confident of what the Scriptures have to say about those subjects? Let's check your answers now, using the Bible.

THE ANSWERS

1. False. They will spend eternity in the "lake of fire", a horrible place much worse than hell and into which even hell itself will be cast (Rev. 20:14)

2. False. It is found NOWHERE in the Bible.

3. False. Cherubim and Seraphim have wings, but angels look exactly like men, so much so that we can be in the presence of an angel without realizing it (Heb 13:1).

4. False. God is only One who can create. The Bible never uses the word "create" in reference to a man or a spirit.

5. True. For example. Genesis 1:5,8,13,19, etc.

6. False. Genesis 1:6-8.

7. True. Genesis 2:20.

8. False. The Bible never says so. But on the basis of such Scriptures as Revelation 12:9 and Ezekiel 28:13, most of the Church, including myself, believes that the Devil deceived her, but all the Bible ever says is that the serpent did.

9. True. Genesis 3:14-15.

10. False. No one asked her to do it. What the serpent did was to suggest that God was not being as good to her as she thought and that He had a self-serving motive for forbidding her to eat fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The decision was her own. The devil didn't "make her do it" or even ask her to do it.

11. False. We are not told what kind of fruit the forbidden fruit was.

12. False. Yes, some did come by sevens, and, despite what the movies and children's books portray, Noah and his family went in first. The animals "went in unto Noah into the ark." Genesis 7:7-9.

13. False. The future dwelling of the saints who will be saved is the new earth, not heaven. Jesus did not say, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall go to heaven (Mt. 5:5).

14. False. They came from the east, but we are not told how many of them there were. Matthew 2:1-12.

15. False. Creatures who lived in the sea are always omitted when creatures who were killed are mentioned. (e.g. Genesis 7:21-22)

16. False. The Bible never says so. And for good reason. They weren't born again until they received the holy Ghost baptism. (cp. 1Cor. 12:13)

17. False. Only God or someone whom He anoints can curse anyone. Fear belongs to God, not to the devil. No mention of the devil putting a curse on anyone exists in the Bible.

18. False. The Bible doesn't say so. In the cases of holy Ghost baptism in which tongues are not mentioned (Acts 8, for example), there is nothing said, either pro or con. One cannot use the book of Acts to prove that every person who receives the holy Ghost speaks in tongues. With millions of Pentecostal believers, I hold that everyone who is baptized with the Spirit does speak in tongues, but the events recorded in the book of Acts itself cannot be used to prove that such is the case.

19. True. Genesis 7:11.

20. False. The Bible never claims that it is the Word of God. It tells us that Christ is the Word of God. (John 1:1; Revelation 19:11-13).

The holy Bible is a thrilling, though simple, book. It is given by the One who created us, to educate us on an elementary level as to what life is all about, how it came to be in the mess it is in, and what is going to take place in the future. Read it. Do not leave it to someone else to tell you what is in it.


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