By Brother Michel Lankford
That is a very good question. For myself, I believe that YHWH Almighty God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them by speaking His Word (Genesis 1:1-3, 31; Hebrews 11:1-4). Therefore, I believe that God said what He meant and means what He says. I believe that all Scripture (Old Testament and New Testament) is God breathed, anointed and appointed by God. I believe that it is all completely sufficient for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the people of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is the refusal to rightly divide and obey God’s Word that is at the root cause of every human ill and character defect we will ever encounter.
I believe that when it is rightly divided and obediently applied in the context of being in right relationship with God and Jesus Christ, His Word is completely sufficient to give us true wisdom in every situation, guidance and comfort through every hardship, and ultimate victory in every battle. If you too believe these things, then you are ready to study. If you don’t have these crucial foundational beliefs, then your topmost urgent priority should be praying and cooperating with YHWH until these beliefs are firmly established in you, (Romans 12:1-2; Amos 3:3). That’s because until we have this all-important foundation, any move of faith or obedience we attempt to make will be so much more difficult than necessary.
I strongly believe in using the Scriptures as a manual for how to live a life that is pleasing to YHWH Almighty, and living a life that functions much more closely to the way that the Almighty Creator designed our lives to be lived. The reality is that not every person who claims to be a believer approaches the Bible as the ultimate authority and instruction manual for life. I believe that they should, but they don’t.
Famous American author Mark Twain once remarked, “I was educated once – it took me years to get over it.”
Sadly, based on everything that I have seen, heard, read, and experienced for myself, that statement is extremely true when it comes to graduates of Bible colleges and seminary. In many cases, these, “Professional Ministers,” have been educated to DEATH. Their faith, their belief, and there reliance upon the Scriptures has literally been thoroughly lectured out of them during their four years of schooling. In many cases up-and-coming ministers are not taught how to study, believe and defend the Scriptures. They are taught the opposite.
Example: I know of at least one seminary which teaches that the Bible is nothing more than allegorical stories and MYTHS, intended to teach a vague concept (sort of like more modern Aesop’s fables).
Example: I knew of one minister who literally told me that in four years of Bible school, he had one nine week grading period where the Bible was taught and discussed. The other 3 1/2 years were literally business courses teaching people how to run a church like a business and keep it profitable. So, in a case like that it’s entirely possible that the preachers coming out of that school don’t even know what the Bible says, let alone how to teach it to other believers so that they can use Scripture to succeed.
Example: I know of one preacher who actually said that he knew that the Bible was important, but he didn’t want to teach it, because he realized that the more Bible people knew, the more accountable they would be before God, and he didn’t want them to know too much, because they would risk harsher judgment if they disobeyed knowingly. So he decided that it was better for his congregation to remain ignorant, so that they could not risk coming under judgment for disobeying knowingly. His approach was highly reminiscent of the parable of the talents, (Matthew 25:14-30). It’s NOT a wise approach.
Example: Some preachers and church organizations keep congregations ignorant of the Scriptures, because people are easier to control and manipulate, as long as they are biblically ignorant. Leadership can do what it wishes, whenever their words and deeds are not able to be compared by the Scriptures, by Biblically literate congregations.
Horace Greeley said it best:
“It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a bible-reading people. The principles of the bible are the groundwork of human freedom.”
This is WHY religious tyrants, abusive governments and totalitarian regimes all try to ban or restrict the Bible, because biblically ignorant people are easier to manipulate and control.
It makes sense. That’s because knowing and walking in the Scriptures is the path of ultimate liberty:
As It Is Written:
“And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts. (Psalm 119:45 NKJV)
As It Is Written:
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31–32 NKJV)
The sad truth is that some of them might not be truly saved and Born Again. Some of them do not have the hunger and thirst for the Word of God that a truly Born Again believer would have. Someone may not have had their eternal spirits regenerated by the Holy Spirit of Almighty God. They may not have a renewed heart or a renewed spirit. They do not feel the inward pull of the Holy Spirit prodding them to walk according to God’s Statutes. Many do not feel the inward spurring of the Holy Spirit pushing an encouraging them to keep the Instructions that God has given us in the Scriptures. They may not have experienced praying according to what the Bible says, and then experiencing a serious answer to prayer. Many of these highly educated pastors may never have experienced obeying a Biblical principle, and seen the overwhelming victory that obeying Scripture will bring into your life. To many of these well educated pastors, scripture is a theory. To them scripture seems like one option or one opinion that you can choose. They do not see the bible as the instruction Manual for how to live your life, and how to overcome life’s problems. Since they have not experienced a victory through applying Scriptures themselves, they do not know how how to impart the importance on to their congregation.
Once one has experienced room victory through applying Biblical principles, then one is eager to make certain that others will learn that and apply Biblical principles as well, because they don’t want their people to miss out. You don’t see the value of applying scripture, until you apply the scriptures to your life and experience the victory that it brings.
Doing Brings understanding.
I could talk to you all day about the importance of praying. You might the polite and passively listen to me that Prang was a good idea, but you would not truly understand the value of praying, until you’ve started practicing praying, and seeing some of the awesome changes that would bring to your life into your circumstancesYou truly would not understand the value of praying, until you started praying for yourself and seeing the victories that brought into your life.
I could talk to you all day about tithing (making sure that you give the first 10th of your income and provisions to God) before you spend anything else. I can give you all the Scriptures and countless testimonies of what tithing and has done for me and for other people; but you won’t see the value of trusting god but the first 10% of your income, until you practice doing It for yourself.
I could talk to you for weeks about the value of obeying the commandments of messiah in written Scripture, but anything I would say would be theoretical to you, until you took a Biblical principles and practiced obeying it, and then you experienced for yourself, how god blessed you through your obedience to His Word.
You won’t see and recognize the value of honoring the 7th day Biblical Sabbath, until you have practiced honoring the Sabbath for a little while.
A great many things in the Bible are like that. You only see the blessings on the benefits of obeying a Biblical principle AFTER you have practiced a obeying it. Until you do it, you often don’t see the value in it.
The sad truth is, many pastors choose not to preach out of the Scriptures because they have not truly seen the value of obeying the Bible for themselves. Therefore, they do not see the value of passing on the knowledge of the Scriptures to their congregation.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Brother Michel Lankford