Study to Show Yourself Approved

Bible-marked-up

In 2 Timothy 2:15 we read, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Last Sabbath I had a Bible study with a man we’ll call brother S. After Sabbath we had a Bible study that lasted a good 3 hours. After we prayed, which is a prerequisite before any Bible study, he opened his large bag and pulled out his Bible. As he opened it I was amazed to see nearly every page marked as the picture shows. Color  coded even with lines going from one part of page to another, showing that he saw them connected in some way.

This is not the first time I have seen such markings. A while back I had another study with a brother (we’ll call him brother F) who also had these same markings.

So what does this show to us and the Angels? It shows that people are taking seriously their study of the Scriptures. They have more than a surface interest in the Word. Like the Word says they are studying to be approved by God. This really should be a basic fundamental trait that all of us who call ourselves “Christian” should have.

Obviously these brothers are striving to know God’s Word better. But studying the Word and knowing the truth is not always mutually the same. We know that He has made us a great promise–

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 1613)

This promise is one of the greatest promises we have. It says we are to know all truth. But let’s look at the two mentioned brothers and look at clues to who is being “guided” into truth.

To start, brother F and I had a study about a month ago concerning the prophecy of Daniel 2. We watched a DVD of Daniel 2 and while playing we’d stop it and discuss. Keep in mind most Adventists have been taught or have heard that the stone that comes from the mountain is Christ.

So as it played brother F began making comments like “I don’t believe that”. When I asked where is the presentation wrong, where is the error? He hemmed and hawed and basically summed it up by saying that the Scriptures showed that Christ is a “stone” and therefore that is the correct interpretation. He was no doubt parroting what we as Adventists have heard about Daniel 2.

But in an effort to look deeper into this prophecy,  I asked about where the stone came from? And what does the mountain symbolize? He wasn’t so clear. Bottom line, although he basically did not want to accept the study, he couldn’t refute the teachings.

As the study of Daniel 2 progressed and started to go into how the church abominations are leavening it, ripe for its purification, brother F began to “pass the buck” as it were. He explained that it is “Christ’s righteousness” that saves us and our works are as filthy rags. I agreed with this but pointed out that we cannot sweep the unholy acts of the church under the rug. I stressed that only sighers and criers of the sins in the church will be sealed and be saved in the SDA church (Testimonies, vol.3 , p.267). To this he kind of just shrugged his shoulders. As if the eternal point really did not awake him nor did he need to address it!

So this brings up the question–why and how can someone so devoted to studying and highlighting the Scriptures  ignore clear truth from the very Scriptures they study? How can they not see many truths within its sacred pages?  The answer is a long one but we can give some general guidelines.

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” (Rev.3:17)

You see many are satisfied in their knowledge. If a new understanding of Scripture comes their way , they rise up a mental block wall to shut it away. They are content in what they think is truth because they do not embrace a new understanding mainly because they feel they might be deceived or off base if they accept it.

There is also the “herd mentality”. If the church believes it–so will I. The Jews of old had this same problem! The masses obeyed and believed what their Pharisee leaders taught, their version of truth. Jesus came along and taught truth that was not truth to those who refused to give up their many lessons they had been taught. Nothing has changed much. Truth is still seen by the few as opposed to the masses. No wonder the Scriptures say only 144,000 sealed from “all” the tribes of Israel.

SOP tells us we have been taught traditional ideas and lessons that we must “unlearn”.

“We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.” (Testimonies to Ministers, p.30)

Again SOP gives us counsel–

“It is a fact that we have the truth, and we must hold with tenacity to the positions that cannot be shaken; but we must not look with suspicion upon any new light which God may send, and say, Really, we cannot see that we need any more light than the old truth which we have hitherto received, and in which we are settled. While we hold to this position, the testimony of the True Witness applies to our cases its rebuke, “And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”

Those who feel rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, are in a condition of blindness as to their true condition before God, and they know it not. We must not think, “Well, we have all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge.” The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light. (Counsels to Writers and Editors, p.33)

Let us compare with brother S approach to study. First,  the reason the study took 3 hours was because he was asking some really good and pondering questions. Unlike brother F, he was searching instead of telling. Our study was about the church purification, backed up by 24 references shown by the Spirit of Prophecy.

As we progressed I started to see that his view of purification was in need of realignment. In other words, just like many within our SDA church he saw this purifying process of us as members drawing closer to God and doing more reform in the future. I countered that God has given the SDA church about 171 years to “get it together”. He cannot continue on and on, for it would probably be eons of years if and when we ever have meaningful reforms in our church. The word says that He will take the reins into His own hands (Testimonies to Ministers, p.300).

Our study was very satisfying as he made me think and I made him think. But I was heartened because by his questions I could see that his goal was knowing the truth not protecting lessons or ideas he could not rethink.

You see brethren our King who knows all, knew that we would , for the most part, reject His final message of Elijah. Therefore He warned us to get rid of our stuck in the mud know it all attitude and accept His new truths He would send via His messengers.

If someone comes to me and says, “hey Rob, I found this great new truth from Scripture.” I want to see it and apply the Lord’s remedy to see if it’s really true.

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20) 

I check first if the person who is telling me this 1) believes and keeps our Lord’s holy 10 Commandments (checking his fruits) 2) The “truth” they have discovered is not counter to what the prophets teach (and that includes His last Elijah prophet–who “restores all things”.) If these two important tests are passed then I praise the Lord for truth revealed to my brother or sister. But this concerns Bible nuggets of truth not Bible prophecy. Prophecy is not given to any “man” only to His prophets.

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20)

How important that we be ready for “fresh truth”?

“Ever have your ears open to any claimant of Inspiration if you are not to repeat the history of the Jews. God will not let you be deceived if you really hunger and thirst after righteousness, if you really want to know the Truth, for He is anxious that you keep up with His progressively revealed Truth. There is therefore no danger for one to be deceived by coming in contact with error, but there is a great danger for staying in darkness by not coming in contact with fresh Truth.” (TG, vol. 1, no.12, p.18

In closing, let us get away from our “rich and increased with goods” mentality and heed the message of the hour —

 “A new day is dawning on us, Brother, Sister.  And now, rather than imagining that we are rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing, we see ourselves in need of everything.  Shall we not accept these riches (Truth) that are tried in the fire, and these garments of righteousness by which to cover our nakedness? 

Shall we not anoint our eyes with this fresh golden oil of Truth that we may see and know the way, that we may reach “the door” on time?  There is no reason for staying wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.  The Lord is waiting at the door of our hearts.  He is anxious to pour out a blessing, to fill the cup to overflowing.” (TG, vol. 1, no. 25, p.12-13)

 

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2 Responses to “Study to Show Yourself Approved”

  1. rene Says:

    Amen brother, in this work we will encounter many types of believers and many mind sets, but let us keep pressing the truth to the front. Keep up the good work.

  2. godsloveandlaw Says:

    True brother. Soon our work in this vineyard (SDA church) will be over and then God willing the world’s vineyard.

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