Here is one for my preaching folder.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
In a previous post I made the comment that, “I know what I believe, and that is thanks to my father who always told me to study things out for myself”. There is a great difference between studying something for yourself and being taught something. In the one, you are told what to believe. In the other, you become the investigator, and you read not one or two books on a subject, but you might have up to twenty different books on the same subject to see what all has been said about it. When studying scripture then you have maybe twenty different versions of the Bible to study from. It is arduous, but it is also very rewarding when you can finally conclude a subject knowing that you know, that you know, what you believe about it.
During the Dark Ages, people were kept in the dark in an educational and a spiritual sense. I believe we are now being lulled into an all new Dark Age.
Even with all of the resources available to people today, Google, Wikipedia, libraries and many more; it seems to me that people are more gullible now than they were say 70 years ago. At least about the issues that really matter. A good 80% of the people who argue about politics and issues have no idea what they themselves truly believe. How can they, if they have not studied enough for themselves on the subject? They have been indoctrinated into believing something, but do they even know why? People are not being taught to think for themselves anymore. I saw this firsthand in the education of my own children, and now my nieces and nephews are in the same predicament. Children are taught to shut up and listen and memorize the “correct” answers for the test. You can say that is how education has always been, and in a way you might be right. However, the text books nowadays have been altered considerably from when our grandparents were in school, and not to make them more accurate, but to indoctrinate the vulnerable youth into a very particular mindset, not only in the USA, but in other countries as well.
It is my estimation that at least 40% and maybe as much as 50% of what is being taught in the schools and in the churches is error. The true face of evil (in my opinion) are the organizations – school boards and church committees. Sure there might be an innocent dupe that sits on those committees, however not all of those people are innocent dupes. Many are consciously and systematically brainwashing the sheep. Yes, the Bible calls us all sheep, however true sheep don’t follow a different shepherd. There is only one true Shepherd and He has many names which you can read about here, but the one we know best is Jesus.
Here, read this passage of scripture regarding sheep:
The Gospel of John 10 : 22-30
At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. “I and the Father are one.”
Might I re-iterate here that in order to qualify as to not being snatched out of His or His Father’s hand, you must actually hear His voice and not listen to the voice of another, even if he is a pastor, priest, reverend, teacher or whoever you most admire.
Do you hear His voice and do you follow IT exclusively? If not, then you are not one of His sheep. This is one of the things that impacted me the most when I heard this scripture for the first time, when I was maybe six years old. I knew then, that the only thing in this world that really mattered was that I hear His voice for myself. All of my effort in studying since then has served to re-enforce that determination.
Let me additionally say that the devil will also talk to you. Not everything that is supernatural is good or holy. Not every voice is God…or UFO’s [humor]. It is your responsibility to get to know the voice of Jesus and His character so well, that you will not be duped when an angel, demon, or the devil himself speaks to you. The devil spoke to Jesus, but He was not duped, because He knew the scriptures for Himself. The Bible says that any who are lacking discernment and wisdom can ask Him for it, and He will give it to them.
Don’t take my word for it. In fact, don’t take anyone’s word for it. Study it out for yourself; it really is that important.
Read the whole context, not just a few verses at a time.
Read every verse that talks about the subject you are wanting to know about.
If you have read a verse in just one translation, then you don’t really know what it says. Especially if that translation is the NIV. At the very least you should be reading the King James or this 1569 version done by Casiodoro de Reina, it is good and it is free, The Amplified, either the Hebrew or Greek Interlinear Translation (this is the best one that I know of, even if it isn’t available on Kindle), and then read it again in The Complete Jewish Bible. At the very least you should have read the same passage (not individual verse) out of the four or five above mentioned translations before you can even begin to think you know what the passage is meaning to say. I also use an analytical concordance, I personally prefer Young’s and he also has a literal translation that is good.
So, happy studying to those of you who are interested.