I have heard people say that if only everybody read the Bible, the world would be converted. This is a nice sentiment, but upon a little reflection, it simply cannot be true.
Reading the Bible without God’s special help will not convert anybody at all. This is something that we really ought to consider as evangelical believers.
There is no need to argue this point - just think about it; cults like the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons read and study the very same Bible that we do, and they come to radically different conclusions!
And why is this?
The simple fact is that, as human beings, nobody experiences anything in life in a purely objective way. We are subjective creatures. We all look at life through the lenses of our own personal history, our own culture, our tastes, our fears and our prejudices.
There is no escaping the fact therefore, that when it comes to reading anything at all, we will gravitate to certain things, and overlook other parts of what we read. We will always come to conclusions that seem particularly relevant to us. We can’t help it – we are subjective beings!
This is just the way we are – we will always assign our own significances to everything that we come across.
That is why one man may love a particular book while another man will find the very same book terrible!
Now when it comes to the Bible, the very same truth applies – we will impose our own experiences upon whatever we read in it.
But if this is so, how can God communicate objective Bible truth to His people? How can we all hear the same Word?
God has given the Church teachers. As God’s people, we need to be taught – disciplined in fact – to read Scripture as the Apostles read it.
Without the grace of God’s Holy Spirit to remove the veil from our sinful hearts, and the guiding compass of the Apostolic teaching, Scripture will not rightly impact our lives.
The early Church devoted themselves to the reading of Scripture. But notice what they called their object of devotion – the Apostle’s teaching!
Let us be soundly Biblical – yes – but let us also be Apostolically Biblical.