You are talking to a member of the congregation. You are discussing some of your recent, private Bible studies. You are talking about how you were reviewing certain things we know about the resurrection and eternal judgment. As you are talking you notice he or she has a lack of interest in what you are saying. So, you decide to try and spark the conversation a little by bringing up something you had just studied. You say: “I was reading about how the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. So, that made me curious as to what the order of the resurrection would be like. Then, I remembered that Paul covered that to the Thessalonians. I turned to read that and just got lost in thought about it all.”
Statement That Arises From Our Scenario:
This brother or sister replies: “I don’t know. I don’t understand it all. That stuff is very confusing. I have been a Christian for 27 years. I figure if I haven’t understood it by now I am never going to. So, I don’t bother having studies like that. That subject is too deep.”
A Later Statement Is Made:
“I think you would do well to back off of your studying a little. Leave that stuff for those that teach. Just wait to hear a sermon on it. Remember that the Bible does say somewhere that too much studying will cause you to be exhausted. I have never fallen away and I hardly ever open my Bible up at home. Actually, I rarely take it out of the car.”
For Discussion: What do you see in those statements?
- If you are reading these notes online, the real points are in each of the Scriptures. Take the time to study them for therein [the Scriptures] is the righteousness of God revealed (Romans 1:16-17).
- It is good, for many reasons, for brethren to talk one with another (John 13:34-35, Romans 12:9-16, Romans 14:19, Galatians 5:13, I Corinthians 16:15, Colossians 3:13-15, I Thessalonians 5:11-14, Hebrews 13:1, James 2:14-16, I Peter 3:8, I Peter 4:8, etc.).
- It is really good when those discussion surround spiritual matters (Proverbs 27:17, Luke 24:13-32, and II Corinthians 7:6-7).
- The resurrection and judgment are vital subjects to faithful brethren for preparation (Matthew 24:35-25:46, John 5:28-29, Romans 14:10-12, II Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 9:27, I Peter 4:17-19, II Peter 3:1-14, and I John 3:1-3) and hope (Acts 24:15, I Thessalonians 5:8, Titus 2:11-14, Titus 3:7, I Peter 1:3-9, and I Peter 1:21).
- As we must often remind ourselves, we have to be careful when we judge something such as the appearance of a lack of interest (John 7:24).
- With that qualifier, isn’t there a concern if/when we notice a very possible lack of interest in spiritual things among our brethren for many reasons (Psalms 119:30, Psalms 119:165, Job 23:12, Matthew 5:6, and Luke 10:38-42)?
- A lack of interest in spiritual things will result in a person not spending much time, if any in learning the ways of our Lord (Luke 11:28). How important is it for us all to DO the right things (James 1:21-27 and Revelation 22:14)?
- Sparking the conversation… Trying to draw an interest (II Peter 3:1-2).
- It is good to try and provoke one another in a good way (Hebrews 3:12-14 and Hebrews 10:23-25).
- The dead being raised incorruptible and being changed (I Corinthians 15:50-58).
- What Paul wrote the the Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
- Getting lost in Scriptural thought, if understood to mean being deep in thought on Scriptural matters, is a good thing (Psalms 1:1-2, Psalms 63:1-6, Psalms 119:15; 119:48; 119:97, Philippians 4:6-8, Colossians 3:16-17, and I Timothy 4:12-16).
- When a fellow brother or sister in Christ, if without some sort of mental impairment, doesn’t understand the Judgment Day and resurrection; there is a problem. Unless he or she is a new babe in Christ, that problem is really big if that individual says these things are too deep (Hebrews 5:5-6:3).
- Think about what a person is saying if they state they don’t “bother” studying things that he or she does not understand, but should understand (Jeremiah 5:21, Mark 7:1-23, and I Corinthians 15:34).
- Those that teach must certainly spend much, and even more, effort in studying the Scriptures (II Timothy 2:14-18; 3:14-17). If a man were to teach ignorantly and err in the process, he’d be lost (Matthew 22:23-33 and Galatians 1:6-9) and God would not excuse him (James 3:1). Teachers have to not only know the truth, but be able to help others understand it (Nehemiah 8:8). This is not the subject at hand though.
- Studying does NOT only belong to those that teach. Even when being taught, the time to confirm what you’ve heard is necessary (John 5:18-39 and Acts 17:10-11)?
- Furthermore, there needs to be a desire for learning (I Peter 2:1-2).
- We are supposed to learn (Matthew 11:28-30 and Romans 15:4).
- What about the INDIVIDUAL instructions to grow in knowledge (Colossians 1:10, I Thessalonians 4:1-2, II Thessalonians 1:3, II Peter 1:3-12, and II Peter 3:15-18)?
- What about the statement: “Remember that the Bible does say somewhere that too much studying will cause you to be exhausted” (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:9-12)? Does that mean that you should close the book and be ignorant (Proverbs 19:2, Ephesians 4:17-21, and I Peter 1:13-16)?
- Is this person faithful knowing that he or she will “hardly ever open my Bible up at home” as they oft leave it in his or her vehicle? Since the Lord says we live by every word of God (Luke 4:4 and John 6:63), what does it say of someone who never feeds his or herself through expected study (James 2:17; 26)?
- Yet, his or her excuse will come back to Ecclesiastes 12:9-12. Think about this… Too much food is not good for you (Proverbs 23:2; 25:16). One could even pervert Scriptures in downplaying the need for food (i.e. Hebrews 13:9). Does that mean you should only eat one time per week (Mark 8:1-3)? I have NEVER met someone who lacks proper study time that also does not care for his or her carnal needs. Truth be told, those lacking in spiritual growth are most often very involved in their carnal needs and pleasures. Think about that (Romans 8:5-8)!
- What about the relationship we have with God? How can we know Him if we only hear from Him once a week (Isaiah 1:3, Jeremiah 4:22, Hosea 4:1-6, and Romans 1:28)? How do walk as Christ walked (I John 2:3-6) if you only learn through sermons? What happens if we don’t know God (II Thessalonians 1:7-9).
- Understand this… Sermons, no matter who the teacher, will never be enough food for anyone. Sermons are tailored to an audience, not an individual. Learning has to be about what you need! Sermons are limited by the needs of the audience.
- This person’s ignorance abounds by inferring that his or her once a week interest in spiritual matters is enough to please God. It most certainly is NOT (Psalms 119:174, Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 6:33, Luke 13:23-24, I Corinthians 15:58, and Colossians 3:1-4).
- To think that attendance in a congregation means you haven’t “fallen away” is ignorant. The fornicator in Corinth was among the saints (I Corinthians 5:1-13), but most certainly was not in fellowship with the Lord (I Corinthians 6:9). Just because you “show up”, that doesn’t mean you haven’t fallen from grace. Whole congregations can work, show up, and be altogether lost (Galatians 1:1-6, Galatians 5:4, and Revelation 2:1-3:22).
- In conclusion, if you don’t love the truth you’ll perish (II Thessalonians 2:10). If you love something, will you only spend a few hours a week considering it?
© 1999-2020 Brian A. Yeager