Hey All, time to keep the ball rolling after taking a short break!
I know that I have focused a fair amount of time on the topic of leadership and the misleading of believers through the centuries, but now I’m going to direct my attention to the responsibility of believers to be discerning when it comes to biblical truths.
I have a couple of questions for you to think about while you are reading. Hmmmm… Why didn’t the first-century believers look to the example of the Bereans? and, Why have most Christians only given lip service to their example and not taken and learned from it? Please, let me add that many during that time and today, did and do take the example of the Bereans to heart. A good picture of this is the many of believers meeting in their homes all over the world whether free to worship or under persecution.
However, I believe from my experience and observations that the majority of the body of believers throughout the centuries and today conveniently ignored and ignore the example by continually seeking after the “traditions of men” whose development started after the post-apostolic period, was solidified by the end of the fourth century, and continues at the present time.
What does it mean to examine the Scriptures?
You know, I don’t want to be mean or hurtful to anyone who reads this post. It is only to “speak the truth in love” as Paul spoke of in Ephesians. With that said, the majority of believers today have become fat, lazy, and comfortable when it comes to studying the scriptures, even to the point of not cracking open the Bible at all! I have found out over the years and through research that becoming discerning in understanding the word is more than just “reading the Bible.”
So now, we need to turn to the vital importance of understanding what discernment is and how to use it when it comes to examining the Scriptures. There are three areas necessary to scrutinize when it comes to understanding and using discernment. First, the simplest thing to gaining a solid foundation is to look at the context of the books of the Bible. This would be done by investigating who wrote the book, who it was written to, and what issues were being addressed in the letter. A good example of this would be Paul writing to the Galatians about their returning to doing works instead of relying on the grace of God.
Secondly, going deeper, we can increase our understanding to a greater degree by looking at various words translated and defined from the Greek language that gives a clearer picture of what’s being spoken about.
Aisthesis–Discernment-to apprehend by the senses, to perceive. In the New Testament Context, it speaks primarily of spiritual perception of the believer and the necessity of it being fine-tuned. ( not judgemental, but also not gullible.)
Epignosis – Knowledge – refers to exact, complete, thorough, accurate, experiential knowledge. In the New Testament, knowledge is always described as full/comprehensive, moral/religious knowledge (accurate)in God’s word.
Epiginosko – Understand – To perceive with the mind, to come to know well, reflective thought. It means to be fully acquainted in a discerning, recognizing manner. To recognize a thing to be what it really is.
Lastly, church history is an important area and we’ll look at that in my next post. Let me leave you with a little story that is an excellent paraphrase for discernment.
Years ago a man came to a church looking for a place to stay. They told him that they supported the Union Mission and that they would be glad to take him down to the mission. He responded by telling them that he couldn’t stay at the mission because he needed a private room. They told him that they would take him to the mission but that was the best they could do. He said to me, “I thought that Christians were supposed to love?” One of the men said, “We are, but we’re not supposed to be suckers.” That, my friends, is an excellent paraphrase for discernment, WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE SUCKERS!
Until next post, Remember:
Everything that we read, hear, think, believe, see on T.V., papers, movies, internet, from other Christians, shepherds, etc., etc., needs to be discerned through the question, “does it line up with what’s in the word of God?”