I was recently researching on people’s views on the Holy Trinity for one of my articles on the Spirit and after reading a lot of arguments for and against, I realized that people were just acquiring knowledge and studying the Bible, but majority had no understanding. I realized that the world was filled with so many students and scholars with in-depth knowledge of the Bible, events, places, and people; they are even vast in the Greek and Hebrew translations of certain words, phrases and sentences. It then dawned on me that there was the place of learning, and the place of the knowledge of truth. We were told that in the last days, perilous times shall come and men shall be lovers of their own selves (2 Timothy 3:1-2). We were then told something very important, that they would ever continue to learn but are never able to come to the knowledge of truth (2Timothy 3:5). It is therefore very important to note that the motive behind the study of the Bible determines the place of the understanding and the knowledge of truth.

The Place of Understanding

Paul prayed a very important prayer in Ephesians 1:17-18, he said,

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”

2 Timothy 3:5 talks about people who are ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of truth. The Bible is not just a book, it is not just a study material, it is not just a course to be studied in higher institutions, it is not a novel; it is life, it is flesh and blood, it is the word of God, it is God. This is where many miss it. The difference between the Bible and an ordinary book is that, ordinary books are just writings based on the inspirations and thought patterns of people. Some are inspired by God, some are inspired by the devil, but they are just writings. They are their thoughts, their views, they might have the ability to give life based on their inspirations, but they are not life. If you read anything book or article inspired by God, you would notice a harmony between their views and the word of God. This is because God is not the author of confusion, God is one and He cannot lie.

The Bible is life. It is God talking with you. When you read the Bible, you must understand the place of its reality, and let it communicate with you like and you with it. That is where meditation comes in. The Bible answers all questions of life, all! This is because it is the word of God, who knows all things. There are a lot of things we go through in life, a lot of questions we have, a lot of explanations we need; the answers are all in the Bible, but you need to have the understanding of it to recognize the voice of God through the lines. For example, I wondered why sin seemed so uncontrollable, why thoughts seemed so irrevocable, why my spirit was willing but my flesh was weak. I thought I was invincible, I thought I could never fall, but God spoke to me through the scriptures answering me accordingly and I realized, I can’t be perfect. If you do not come to understand the significance of the Word, it would just be one of those books to you, but there won’t be that cordial relationship between it and you. There are many instances when I was going through things or had questions to be answered and I was replied through the word of God. A major factor behind the understanding and communion with the voice of God is the reason behind the study of the Bible itself.

Reasons Why People Study the Bible

A major problem I have seen is the motive behind the study of the Bible. Just like any other work of literature, knowledge is the major factor behind the reading and studying of such. The motive behind the gathering of such Biblical knowledge is of utmost importance and this would be discussed further in details.

Knowledge

Many people read the Bible to acquire knowledge. As a matter of fact, knowledge is the very first step, after all, we believe because we know, either by hearing or by reading. I am writing because I know, and I knew by gathering knowledge. Knowledge, they say, is power. God said that His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Knowledge is inevitable, you must acquire knowledge, but the question is why? What is the motive behind the acquisition of Biblical knowledge? This is where billions have missed it, because of the living nature of the Bible. In my opinion, there are two kinds of knowledge that can be gathered from the Bible:

a.      Knowledge of the holy
b.      Literary knowledge

a. Knowledge of the holy

Bible studyProverbs 9:10 gives us the significance of the knowledge of the holy, it says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” This is the place of the understanding which comes from the knowledge of God. Let us look at Ephesians 1:17-18 again, it says,

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”

Did you see that? If you listen to the testimonies of men of God, of how they started their ministries or how they got saved and started to know God better, you would realize that they studied the word of God to know God better. They studied to know His will. They studied to have a communion and direct fellowship with Him. George Adegboye, General Overseer of Rhema Chapel International Churches, who is also called “The Walking Bible”, when giving a testimony about his conversion during the West African Faith Believers Convention’ (WAFBEC) 2013, stressed on the fact that he started studying the Bible because he wanted to know God, he wanted to know His promises upon his life, he wanted to know His will, and the more he read, the more his eyes were opened. This is meant to be the major motive behind every believer’s study of the Bible, to know God more and more, and to know His will, but I’m afraid, many people are only trying to fulfill all righteousness these days.

READ  BLOODY INGRATES 2: THE CHIEF OF ALL INGRATES

Look at what 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The reason behind the study of Bible is very important. I was preaching to members of Jehovah’s Witnesses who came to preach to me one Sunday morning, after I had returned from service; and the guy brought out a book of Biblical analysis based on their views; I told him to keep it back inside his bag, that we didn’t need that. If he wanted to answer any question, he would refer to predetermined passages that were not relevant to the topic at hand. I then realized they mostly read the Bible to project their views, they only knew what they were made to or wanted to know, but they had little or no understanding at all.

The Bible is the word of God, and we are advised to meditate on it day and night (Joshua 1:8). Meditation requires spiritual concentration, and to achieve this, you must be walking in the Spirit, if not, you would just become one of those who are ever learning, but are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. The Bible talks about God hiding the truth from the wise and prudent. Matthew 11:25 says, “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Many times in the New Testament, we see the Scribes and Pharisees being made to look like fools because of their lack of understanding, but they knew the Bible inside out. There is the place of learning and there is the place of the knowledge of the truth. It is that truth that you know that will make you free, that is why a lot of people are just religious today. It is clear from the above scripture that the understanding of the Word is a function of humility in the knowledge of God.

God seeks those who would worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23), He is seeking those who want to know Him, those who seek Him, those who love Him, those who want Him; and not hypocrites and so-called Bible scholars many of whom only seek to fulfill their lusts and pride of knowledge. The kinds of evils going on in the world today (in churches especially), are proofs that the hearts of people are drawn towards their own lusts and not towards God. There is something you would always notice in Christendom today; the problem is not necessarily with the General Overseers, but with their respective congregations and units, but since these members are representative of their churches, it all goes back to the head. Go and confirm, the respective heads maintain a deep connection with God who called them, look at most of the mighty men of God in Nigeria today, look at their lives, you would know; but look at their congregations, then you would see the difference. Most of these church goers do not understand the significance of the word of God, they do not recognize the place of the knowledge of God, to them it’s mostly all about works and at the end, all they are doing is fulfilling all righteousness. This is one of the reasons why we have eye service today. What most fail to understand is the role that the love and knowledge of God plays in the lives of their respective General Overseers and Senior pastors. This is why the knowledge of God is of utmost importance.

b. Literary knowledge

Bible study 2One night, I was in a gathering of people who were randomly debating on the superiority of Christianity and Islam over each other. I just quietly sat there as I laughed and listened to the two religious groups argue. Then one of the Muslims, in an attempt to prove his point said, “Look, let me tell you, I have read the Bible from A to Z, so I know what I’m talking about”. I was like, “wow!” The Muslim didn’t just know the Bible; he claimed to have read it from A to Z. What effect did that have on him? NOTHING! Because he only read it to gain literary knowledge so he could argue and prove his point to Christians that Islam is the best religion. Many Christians fall in this category, that is one of the reasons why they are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, and who is that truth? Jesus Christ, because he said “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). This is also one of the reasons why they have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5).

READ  THE DOWNFALL OF MOSES: DEFINITELY NOT ANGER
i Sunday School

Many read the Bible for Sunday school purposes, “memorize the memory verse or else they might call you out to recite it and you will be embarrassed”. Those days, they’ll ask “How many of you read your Bibles last week?” I must confess, most Saturdays, or even Sunday morning before Church, I actually would quickly open my Bible and read one very short chapter or some verses, then I’ll raise my hand during Sunday school as one of those who read their Bibles. At the end of the day, we were just fulfilling all righteousness. When I now started to know God and gain more understanding of the Word, there was always trouble during Sunday school, because I always had questions and counter views based on the actual revelation of God given to me. In fact, one day, the Sunday school teacher stopped teaching, faced me and said “Godsplan, I don’t like what you’re doing o! You are always looking for my trouble”. Whoa! That was really funny, but it showed the difference between the literary knowledge of the Bible and the knowledge of God. Isn’t it shocking that after all the years of Sunday school in various churches, most Christians are still the way they are?

ii Bible School and other Schools of Ministry

One major area that has drawn my attention is the area of Bible school and other Schools of ministry. It’s a beautiful thing, men of God establishing these schools to equip believers in the Word, but I’m afraid, many of these schools are having a counter effect on their students. In those days, there was a pastor in the church who, in about 3 out of every 5 sermons and messages he preached or taught, made reference to Bible school, he always said “When I was in Bible School”, always. He had little or no understanding of the word of God, nor knowledge of God; all he knew was what they taught him in Bible school. When he was transferred to a branch in the church in the east, he said he, having gone to Bible school, could not go and stay under people who did not go to Bible school and therefore knew nothing; but they had been ministering for over 30 years, even when he was just a child. What happened? He went to Bible school for the certificate, for the pride, but studying the Bible doesn’t mean you understand it, it doesn’t mean it has effect on your life. Imagine a pastor getting into a physical fight with a woman in his compound over an intangible subject, and was arrested by the police, in fact the church was happy he didn’t have a church identity card which would have identified him as a pastor in that church.

Going to Bible school doesn’t mean you know God, you are just like the Scribes and Pharisees, if you lack the knowledge of God. I have many instances of these Bible school products that I have witnessed, who were just empty cans. I love what Poju Oyemade, Senior Pastor of Covenant Christian Centre (C3) did during WAFBEC; he held an ordination service for faithful members of the church, ordaining them as pastors, ministers and deacons. They were ordained by David Oyedepo and Scott Webb. They were ordained based on their service in those capacities in the church and their faithfulness, not based on Bible school certifications; yet is it wrong to go there? Of course not. The question is, what is your motive?

Christianity has now turned to labour market, if you do not have Bible school certificate, you can’t be a pastor or a minister, in some cases, you can’t even get a promotion in the church. At the end of the day, majority just go to fulfill all righteousness. I know of a man who claims he’s a prophet because he has gone to the School of prophets. You dare not make the mistake of referring to him as a pastor or reverend. One day in church, he was mistakenly referred to as ‘pastor’ by the announcer and this man, during that same service, in front of the whole congregation, he said “Point of correction, Prophet”. It was this same man, when trying to lure me back to the church, that told me “Church is business, when it blows, I will benefit from it and you will benefit from it”, of course all I did was just nod my head from beginning to end and thanked him for the beautiful words of exhortation, or should I say, extortation (ok there’s no word like that), extortion it is then.

You don’t need to go to any Bible school to know God or to be qualified to answer His call upon your life, don’t let anybody deceive you; but there is nothing wrong with going to a Bible school if you are led by the Spirit or if you feel you need such, but it must be about your thirst for God, not the certificate. Men of God in times past established these schools to further equip the people because of the extreme lack of in-depth knowledge and understanding; yet even then, they still had the Bible, they had Christian books. Bible school should not be a prerequisite for service, this is a major point of entry that the devil has used and is still using to cause divisions and blindfold Christians. I attend the church I attend today because most of what the pastor says, it is either God has already revealed to me personally through my own study of the Bible, or I just agree in the spirit, that’s how I know he’s on track, and I listen more and more; only a few times do I disagree with him. I listen to some men of God because I agree with them in the spirit, I don’t care who they are or what they’ve done, what I care about is if they are speaking the mind of God, because I house God (2 Corinthians 6:16). A pastor came boasting all around the place about how many churches he has erected and how many pastors he has produced. I just told the elders of the church, “This man does not know God”. It wasn’t long before he threatened to slap one of the elders in the church, packed the church money away and never came back. That was a so-called mighty reverend, with all the pastoral and Bible school experience, it only took me seconds to fish him out by the leading of the Spirit.

READ  NIGERIA: A GAME OF THRONES

The greatest men of God of old, did not know God by Bible school, they knew God by a special relationship they had with him, they yearned for Him, they thirsted for Him, they studied the Bible and other materials they could lay their hands upon to know Him more and equip the church. Most of them started these Bible schools to spread the word and people attended because they wanted to know God more. Today, the visions of these people have been polluted. Everybody is starting a Bible school now, please don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, but the question is, where is the place of the knowledge of the truth? Where is the place of yearning and thirst for God? Where is the place of the understanding? It is nowhere to be found. Let’s not forget, there is the place of constant learning, and there is the place of the knowledge of truth. That is why we have a lot of experts today, but they deny the power thereof. Most, at the end of the day even start twisting the Bible to satisfy the audience.

I can’t forget the day I innocently led a prayer session in Church some years back and after the service, when everybody had gone home, a demon manifested in a girl and came to me; and she was just there displaying. In fact, I was angry because I wanted to go and play football back at home, and here’s this demon spoiling my show now. Well, I won’t tell you what happened after then, but don’t worry, no demon dealt with me. Ok, let me tell you, the truth is I wasn’t ready for that one at all as at that time, so I called the parents to come take her and recommended her for deliverance at a deliverance ministry the next day, after all, that’s their job, to deliver people from demons. The parents refused, well, what’s my business? I bade them farewell and tried to see if I could meet up with my football game at home. That same night, the demon manifested in full force in their house and they called sharply agreeing to do as I had directed. Of course, the girl is ok now. I told this story to prove that God will work through those that love and serve Him in spirit and in truth, and not necessarily people whose mouth are near to Him but their hearts are far from Him. The point is, you cannot learn power, power is given from above; you cannot learn wisdom, wisdom is given from above; you cannot learn understanding, understanding is given from above; you cannot learn prophecies, prophecies are given from above; you cannot learn spiritual gifts, all spiritual gifts are given from above. Even the disciples who were with Jesus, still lacked understanding at that time. It is not by knowing the pastor or listening to him all the time, or sitting for hours listening to Bible lectures and analyses, it is by your personal relationship with God. If it were to be another subject or course of study, such would be inevitable, but this is the word of God we are talking about here, it is not ordinary, it is supernatural. It is God that will now direct you to further materials and teachings where necessary. This is something that needs serious attention.

Summary and Recommendations

Have we quickly forgotten that the strength of sin is the law? (1 Corinthians 15:56), if you make Bible school a prerequisite for service, automatically, there is a law there, and what you would get is the fulfillment of righteousness and a dilution of the actual nature of the Word, which is life. I have read books, I have attended seminars and teachings, but I can assure you that it all made sense because I already had a personal communion with God through His word. All the times I just attended for righteousness’ sake, I was never able to come to the knowledge of truth; no matter how long the teaching was or how vibrant the pastor was, it had no impact on my life until I developed a personal relationship with God. The Bible is the word of God, the Christian race is not a competition, it is not about who knows the Bible more; it is a personal race, and it is about your personal relationship with your father in heaven. From today, I want you, as it is written in 2 Timothy 2:15, to study to show yourself approved unto God, that workman that doesn’t need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Draw close to God and pour out your heart to Him, seek Him and you will surely find Him for every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened (Matthew 7:8).

Cheers and God bless you infinitely!!!

© 2013 Godsplan Uzoaga.

Image Credit: http://worshipaumc.org/clientimages/53506/biblestudy.gif