As part of his ordination process, one of the leaders at Grace is required to understand and teach the basic doctrines of Christianity. So he is leading an eight week men’s Bible study called “Be Armed!”. After decades of Bible study, I attended this first study at Grace. Instantly my mind exploded with ideas, thoughts and questions! After 24 years of intensive study of the Bible, I had not even understood the fundamental teachings the Bible teaches.
Lesson 1 is entitled “Bibliology: Regarding the Scripture”. Required pre-reading for the study was Psalm 119:1-176, Isaiah 55:8-11, 2 Timothy 2:15, 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and two short publications: “Survey of Bible Doctrine” by Sid Litke and “Leading Even When You Don’t Feel It” by Perry Noble. Today’s post is a sharing of what I learned.
First of all, I learned some new vocabulary. I am not a fan of big words (just ask my wife!), but I see the importance of knowing and using correct words and meanings. The word “eisegesis” is “the interpretation of a text (as of the Bible) by reading into it one’s own ideas” (what someone says the Bible says). The word “exegesis is an “an explanation or critical interpretation of a text” (what the Bible teaches). For more than 20 years, I have had an eisegesis study of the Bible. As such, my Christian life became filled with contradictions. Yet I could not see those contradictions (though I could always sense a dark cloud of confusion and angst caused by the contradictions). Now, as I step back and start to listen to what the Bible teaches about the Bible (exegesis), I can see those contradictions more and more clearly. And the dark cloud is gone! The angst has turned into peace and confidence in the Lord.
Here are some things I wrote down during the discussions at this first lesson Bible study: The Bible is the truth and the complete and final truth. The Bible is our Christian canon. The Bible is the rule and standard I must measure up my beliefs and actions to. Study the Bible for transformation, not information. Let the Bible teach us. Righteousness is being right with God and right with people. Interpret the Bible with the Bible. Teaching, rebuking, correcting and training are good, but not in and of themselves (What good is a boxer who is well-trained but never enters the ring to fight?).