History and It's Relevance on Understanding Scripture
It has appeared to me that so much of our confusion today stems from a lack of understanding history. I am not simply referring to that old adage that ‘those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.’ That is true, however, that is not what I am talking about.
While history forgotten may repeat it self, history ignored and denied causes one to view life as though it has always existed this way. That is a very selfish way to view the world and a dangerous way to approach God’s Word. False teachings are things that have been added to God’s Word, yet many people today fail to recognize them for one of two reasons. They are either not familiar enough with God’s Word to know the truth or they are not familiar enough with history to realize that they are imposing their ideas onto Scripture instead of getting their beliefs from it.
Before I go any further I want to assure you that I am not suggesting that we need a degree in history to understand the Bible. In fact, all we need to do is be aware that things were not always as they are today. While there is nothing new under the sun, for false teachings have forever been plaguing mankind, Satan’s methods of deception are constantly changing.
So how does our poor knowledge of history affect our study of Scripture? It is really fairly simple. If you have never seen or experienced anything different, you are not likely to challenge what you already know. Do you realize that there are textbooks out today that teach that the Holocaust did not really happen? Is it feasible that people could believe such a lie? Yes it is. The world has come a long way in human rights and it is certainly hard to fathom that anything so horrific could have really taken place. However, we know it is true, but those who know nothing else but what the world is like today cannot imagine that something like the Holocaust could be true. Those who are unwilling to take a hard look at the evidence might easily be deceived.
It is the same with our study of God’s Word. Those who have been taught that Peter was the first pope do not question why the teaching is not found in Scripture. They are willing to believe that obscure passages reveal it as true because they believe the church has forever taught such a thing. A little study in history reveals that the papacy was actually formed much later. The same can be said for most catholic teachings. They have added many teachings over the years, yet many people think they have always done things this way since the foundation of the church. This is not true.
Those who believe in tongues as they are taught today are not aware that the teachings they follow are barely 100 years old. They think people have experienced the spiritual gifts in this way since the New Testament church, but that is also a lie. People who believe Psychology cures what the Bible cannot fail to realize that until the last 50 or 60 years man did not have pills to cure things like depression or anxiety.
So what must we do to be sure we are following God’s way and not some deception that has crept into the church over the last 50, 100, or 1500 years? We must be willing to read God’s Word and allow it to teach us by what it says. We do not need men to explain it to us nor do we need a pastor or priest to interpret it for us. The Bible tells that the Word of God is profitable for instruction and that should be our guide.
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
When we read a passage and our mind imagines something familiar we should ask ourselves, if I had never seen or heard that doctrine taught, would this passage really lead me to this belief? If no one told me Peter was a pope, would I find that doctrine in the Bible? If no one told me I must speak in an unknown language as proof of having the Holy Spirit, would what I read lead me to believe it? If the Bible says that we should not be anxious, would the Bible explain to me that this passage does not apply to those people who have a disease and can’t help being anxious?”
We must let God’s Word speak to us. While the deceptive tactics of the devil may change in order to continue to deceive a lost and dying world, God’s Word lives forever and that, my friend, will never change. Things were not always as they are today, but God’s Truth is and has been the same yesterday, today and forever. Those are the truths we should be willing to believe, no matter what we “think” the truth is. We should be willing to let God open our eyes to the truth instead of allowing ourselves to be blinded by our own selfish view. God’s Word is the only truth that will last forever.
Luke 21: 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
We pray that all of us would be willing to be guided by His Truth.