This sermon was preached by Jason Shodd on Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 11:00AM. To download the sermon, CLICK HERE, or just listen from the webpage. If you would like a CD made of these sermons, let us know and we would be happy to oblige.
Text: Psalms 33: 1-7 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.2 Praise the Lord with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.3 Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy. 4 For the word of the Lord is right, And all His work is done in truth. 5 He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. 6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses.
A. Ignorance of what the Bible actually says is very common in our time.
1. It was also very common in the O.T. era. (Hosea. 4:6 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.)
2. Hosea was writing to people who should have known God’s Word.
3. They had rejected knowledge and forgotten God’s law. (Jeremiah 2:31 31 “O generation, see the word of the Lord! Have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of darkness? Why do My people say, ‘We are lords; We will come no more to You’?)
B. Are God’s people any better today?
1. Some in the Lord’s church are inexcusably ignorant of the Bible.
C. What we all need is deep, serious, diligent study of God’s holy Word.
1. In this lesson, let’s look as some reasons, excuses, or hindrances which keep people from studying the Bible as they should.
2. Our purpose for studying these is that we might watch and avoid them.
I. IMPROPER ATTITUDE.
A. All the excuses and hindrances which we will mention can be put under this heading.
1. One’s attitude toward Bible study is his “set of sail” as to his learning.
a. “One ship sails east, another west by the self same wind that blows.’Tis the set of the sail, and not the gale that determines the way it goes.”
B. Many do not study because they have no desire to do so. They see no need for studying. They don’t want to study. (Proverb 17:16 16 Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom, since he has no heart for it?)
1. Knowledge of God is a very precious commodity and we should diligently seek to obtain it. (Proverb 23:23 23 Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding.)
C. Many are willfully ignorant of the Bible. They choose to forget what the Bible teaches. (2 Peter 3:55 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,)
1. Many love darkness rather than light. (John 3:19-21 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”)
II. SEEKING TO JUSTIFY ONESELF OR ONE’S DOCTRINE.
A. Many people go to the Bible simply to justify a practice or doctrine they already have.
1. They do not go there to learn from God.
2. Their purpose is not to learn the truth.
B. Man has sought to justify everything under the sun from the Bible – social drinking, adulterous marriages, traditions and doctrines of men galore.
C. This was Balaam’s problem and the reason the angel of God was sent to kill him.
1. (Numbers 22:12 12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”) – This should have been the end of the matter once for all.
2. However, he wanted to “see what more the Lord had to say.” (Numbers 22:19 19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.”)
3. Many people are like this today. Instead of accepting a very plain passage which reveals the truth, they want to “see what more the Lord has to say.”
III. READING WITHOUT EXPECTING TO UNDERSTAND.
A. Many people have been told that the Bible is a dark and mysterious book.
1. For example, their church practices sprinkling or pouring water as a mode for baptism, but the Bible teaches immersion or a burial in water. (Romans 6:3-4 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.)
2. Thus, in such matters, instead of rejecting the false teaching of their church, they conclude that the Bible is an obscure and difficult book.
B. The common people could understand the Lord’s teaching. (Mark 12:37 37 Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”And the common people heard Him gladly.) (Matthew 13:51 51 Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?”They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”)
1. The wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein. (Isaiah 35:8 8 A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray.)
2. Paul said that they wrote nothing other than that which they could understand. (2 Corinthians 1:1313 For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end)
a. Certainly, “some” things are hard to be understood. (2 Peter 3:1616 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.)
b. However, the terms of salvation are for every creature. Everyone is expected to understand and obey. (Mark 16:15-16 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.)
3. Paul’s criteria for understanding is “read.” God expects us to understand. (Ephesians 3:2-5 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:)
a. God expects us to understand. (Ephesians 5:17 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.)
IV. SEEKING TO IMPRESS PEOPLE.
A. One’s sole purpose for studying the Bible should be to learn what to do to please God.
1. However, one’s pride gets in his way. (1 John 2:15-1715 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.)
2. One may read and study for bragging purposes or to be accepted by a particular group.
3. This was a problem with the Pharisees. (Matthew 23:5 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.) ( John 5:44 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?)
4. Jehovah’s Witnesses like to impress people by indicating they are the only ones who truly study the Bible.
5. There are those who are ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:77 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.)
V. READING WITHOUT SYSTEM.
A. The story is told of a lady who had an unusual mode of Bible study which she later had to abandon. She, in early mornings, after quickly flipping through pages of the Bible with her eyes closed, would bring her finger down on a verse. She would then open her eyes, and that verse supposedly was her special God-given inspiration and exhortation for that day. One morning as she brought her finger down on a verse, it said, “Judas went out and hanged himself.” She didn’t particularly like that verse, so she thought God would add further instructions if she tried again. The next time her finger hit the verse, “Go thou and do likewise.” She now being very perplexed on what to do, tries again. The next placement said, “What thou doest, do quickly.” Thus, she now had her God given exhortation for that day: Judas went out and hanged himself. Go and do likewise! Do it quickly!
B. Many read and study only their favorite passages.
1. This is why the book of Psalms was placed in the back of some the New Testament publications.
2. They are not getting a well balanced diet.
a. We should live by “every” word. (Matthew 4:4 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”) (Psalm 119:160 160 The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.)
b. We need the “meat” as well as the “milk.”(Hebrews 5:11-6:l 11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,)
VI. RELYING ON MEN FOR UNDERSTANDING.
A. Some rely far too much on a particular preacher or teacher.
1. This is the reason whole churches go into apostasy.
2. With no true knowledge on the part of the membership, they can easily be lead astray. (Ephesians 4:14 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,) (Colossians 2:8,18 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,)
B. Many rely far too much on the books of men in their study of God’s word, on commentaries, study guides, and religious books.
1. This is the straining of God’s Word through another man’s brain.
2. When one relies on man for his study, God’s Word is certain to be modified and colored by man’s limitations and prejudices.
C. Some rely far too much on another family member for their knowledge.
1. Instead of studying, searching, and learning for themselves, they simply ask their companion or parents.
2. With a steady dose of this for many years, one family might be very knowledgeable while the other is very ignorant of the Bible.
VII. WE BECOME TOO BUSY FOR BIBLE STUDY.
A. If we are too busy for Bible study, we need to do some rearranging and rescheduling.
1. We always think that we will have more time for Bible study later. We can always say that we will start tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes.
2. Some can really “cry on another’s shoulder” when it comes to making excuses for not studying the Bible.
3. Will God accept you petty excuses? (Luke 14:16-24) (Master’s feast)
a. We must somehow work in time for Bible study.
B. Television is a great robber of our time. Here is another Version of “The 23rd Channel.” The TV is my shepherd, I shall not want. It makes me lie down on the sofa. It leads me away from the Scriptures. It destroys my soul. It leads me in the paths of sex and violence for the sponsor’s sake. Yea, though I walk in the shadow of my Christian responsibilities, there will be no interruption for the TV is with me. It prepares a commercial before me in the presence of my worldliness. It anoints my head with humanism. My coveting runneth over. Surely laziness and ignorance shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of Satan forever. (Author Unknown)
A. All other excuses and hindrances take their death toll on our Bible study; however, this one probably does so more than any other.
1. The reason many of us do not study as we should is just plain old laziness. We are simply too lazy to get the job done.
B. Study of the Bible requires great diligence. We must have strong self discipline.
1. The lazy get nowhere. (Proverb 6:6-11 6 Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise,7 Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. 9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep—11 so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.)
a. Those lazy in Bible study will reap spiritual poverty.
C. I know of no cure for this except to give warning that the lazy person will not enter heaven. (James 4:17 17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.)
1. Also, I exhort the lazy person to strive to do better. (Luke 13:24 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.) (2 Tim. 2:1515 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.)
A. Satan has many devices to hinder us.
B. Let us see the need and urgency for Bible study and be diligent in it.
C. In our next lesson we hope to lay out some basics for a good Bible study program, and for good Bible study habits.
D. WHY DON’T PEOPLE STUDY THE BIBLE?
1. Improper attitude.
2. Seeking to justify oneself or one’s doctrine.
3. Reading without expecting to understand.
4. Seeking to impress people.
5. Reading without system.
6. Relying on men for understanding.
7. We become too busy for bible study.
featured image courtesy of NYC Wanderer licensed via Creative Commons