Sometimes things in life can get completely and unnecessarily complicated. Take, for instance, the following prayer of a lawyer: “We respectively request, and entreat, that due and adequate provisions be made this day and the date hereinafter subscribed, for the organizing of such methods and allocations and distribution as may be deemed necessary to properly assure the reception by and for said petitioner of such quantities of baked cereal products as shall, in the judgment of the aforementioned petitioner, constitute a sufficient supply thereof.”
The translation: Give us this day our daily bread!
Some things, no doubt, are indeed difficult to understand. Fortunately for us, the Bible isn’t one of them. According to the website christianbook.com, the reading grade level required for understanding various translations of the Bible indicates how easy it is for the average person to read and comprehend God’s Word. The most difficult to read is the King James Version (thou shall not be surprised at such a revelation!), which requires a 12th grade reading level. The English Standard Version is written on a 10th grade level and both the New International and New King James are written on a 7th grade level. Almost everyone can read and understand the Bible!
However, there is a desperate lack of Biblical literacy in our world today and, may I dare say, in the church as well. So if the issue is not that we can’t understand what has been written, then what is the reason so many don’t know the Bible? Quite simply, the problem is that too many don’t take the time to read it. We make it complicated by not actually studying it. And when we fail to study the words of God, we fill the ‘knowledge void’ in our life by listening to what others say about the Bible. We gather a snippet here or there and collectively that becomes our understanding of Scripture. Before you know it, we are attributing to God’s Word things that aren’t actually in God’s Word, such as “God helps them who help themselves”, Eve ate a forbidden ‘apple’, Jonah was swallowed by a ‘whale’, God promises that the faithful will be happy, healthy and wealthy and so on. The simple truth is that Bible illiteracy is not so much the result of a lack of understanding as it is caused by a lack of effort.
We are inundated by information in our world today, so much so that someone has calculated that the knowledge of the world doubles every 12 months! Yet so much of the information that is available to us is either factually incorrect or so biased that it cannot be trusted. But that isn’t the case with God’s Word. Jesus said in John 17:17 that God’s Word is truth. The truth found in Scripture doesn’t change due to political movements, court decisions or cultural fads. God’s Word is eternal. The psalmist wrote, “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Luke 21:33). Men will come and go, but the eternal truth of God’s Word lasts forever!
Sunday morning we are going to see that the reason that the Bible is always true and will never change is found in 2 Timothy 3:16. There we’ll read that Paul says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” Knowing then that what we hold in our hands when we clutch the Bible comes directly from God, why do we not study it like we should? What could possibly be more important in our lives than taking the time to read the very words of God?
Sunday we will be challenged to make a New Year’s resolution to diligently study God’s Word. And as we will see, to actually fulfill that resolution is the most profitable thing we can do for ourselves in 2016.