Have you ever noticed that many preachers, when teaching from the word, almost always have 4 or 5 other verses to support the verse that they are teaching? Have you ever wondered why?
Sometimes that habit is so annoying. At other times it is so enlightening. One thing for sure, if you are following along in your Bible, that book will look worn after a short time. Is that why they do it; to make your Bible look well used?
Any student of the Bible has heard the saying, “Let Scripture interpret Scripture.” That sounds moronic to the uninitiated. But that is exactly what the Bible expositor is trying to do when he uses cross references. Does it work? I suppose that depends on the skill of the preacher.
Why am I asking these questions? This morning my devotional reading is from Proverbs. Proverbs 4 says, “The beginning of wisdom is acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.” What does that mean? I think we first have to define wisdom. Wikipedia defines it this way, “Wisdom is a deep understanding anrealization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgments and actions in keeping with this understanding.” Webster defines it this way:
Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)
a: accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : knowledge b: ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight c: good sense : judgment d: generally accepted belief
: a wise attitude, belief, or course of action
: the teachings of the ancient wise men
I think I will have to go with Webster on this one. Solomon is talking about the accumulated philosophic or scientific learning. All of that learning is just vanity unless you gain understanding to go with it; which is why Solomon adds “and with all your acquiring get understanding”. So wisdom is the combination of knowledge and understanding the application of that knowledge. That seems pretty straight forward. Add to that Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” and the passage takes on a different hue.
With this in mind, to get the whole counsel of God; to understand what the Bible is about, it is necessary to read the entire book. I have heard that some Christians believe that they only need the New Testament. Since the New Testament is based on the Old Testament, they would have a hard time understanding it. Other people’s knowledge of the Scripture is what they get on Sunday morning. The arguably greatest bible expositor of our time, John McArthur, recently celebrated a milestone in his career, after forty years, he completed teaching the New Testament. Can you afford to wait that long to acquire the wisdom of God?
I am going through the entire bible for the fifth time. To read the Bible in a year only takes about 15 minutes a day. Still God’s word is new and fresh. Each time I read through it I gain understanding I didn’t have before. When I study a book or chapter, I gain even greater understanding. I can’t help but wonder how much I have missed by starting my Bible reading program so late in life.
If you are not reading Scripture daily, how much of God’s blessing for you are you leaving unclaimed?