The Vital Value of Understanding the Word of God
Acts 8:1, 4, 5, 26-39
"Understandest Thou What Thou Readest?"
We have called these meditations "Fundamental Questions of the Christian Life" which means that we are seeking to get to the real foundation and nature of the Christian life, to understand what the Christian life is meant to be. Whatever may be the argument (and I am quite conscious that much argument might arise out of what will be said here, for very much argument has already circled around this question), it will always return to one matter, and it should be that one matter that governs and influences the argument. The one matter is: the question of absolute satisfaction with the Christian life.
If you are perfectly satisfied with your Christian life, if you are satisfied that Christianity as it is in this world today is an absolutely satisfactory thing, then there is no point in a book such as this. But if we are not wholly satisfied with our Christian life - that is, if we realize the need for something more, something fuller; if we feel that, speaking quite generally, Christianity as we know it in the world is not quite what it should be; if we deplore all these disruptive elements, all these divisions, all this atmosphere of suspicion and criticism, and so on - if we feel like that at all, then we are surely under the necessity of trying to find out the better way, the remedy. It is incumbent upon us to seek to discover the cause of the much disappointment which exists in the hearts of so many Christians, disappointment with Christianity as we know it.
Do we, in the first place, find some explanation in the matter of our first consideration: an adequate apprehension of Christ? May not an inadequate apprehension of Christ lie at the root of much disappointment and many conditions which we deplore?
Do we, moreover, find some explanation in our second consideration: Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed? May it not be that some misunderstanding, some confusion, some uncertainty about this matter of the indwelling Holy Spirit, with all that that ought to mean, lies at the root of many of our troubles?
And now, thirdly, may it not be that the state of spiritual weakness, defeat, ineffectiveness, unfruitfulness, and many more positive elements which are quite unsatisfactory, can be traced to this: not really understanding the Word of God? We must now investigate this question. Let me say that we are not setting out to prove the inspiration of the Scriptures. That is assumed. What we are concerned with is to emphasize and explain the necessity for understanding the Scriptures. We underline the word "understanding."
(continued with # 19 - (Stopping Short With the Bible)