Many believers fail to understand the scriptures from the first principle because they want scriptures that support their own views and inclinations. Scriptures must be critically studied with the attitude of open-mindedness and the right hermeneutical principles. The expression of own opinions and culturally dominated assertions must come to the fore only when the scriptures have been understood and interpreted in their original contexts. This piece of writing explains that the Bible is still relevant in the face of academia.
Rationalization of the Biblical Teachings
The term rationalization, which is a methodology or a theory in which the criterion of the truth is intellectual, is not wrong in the study of the Bible. It becomes wrong only when it is extended to the extreme end of the pendulum. Biblical teachings are understood, both by faith and rationalism. God wants us to understand the truths of His word so the scriptures must be searched thoroughly for its truths and claims. Thus, a person could understand the Bible through faith (Heb 11:3), or by reasoning with scriptures (Joh 5:39, Acts 17:11). It is recorded that Jesus Christ reasoned with a section of the Sadducees through the holy scriptures (Mar 12:18-28). Daniel also understood the content of the prophecy of Jeremiah through reading and studying the word of God (Dan 9:2). Scripture tells that what has been revealed to man is for man but what is hidden is for God (Deut 29:29). Therefore, what God wants people to understand must be understood through the study of His word. When people, through questioning, destabilize our long-held beliefs about God and the Bible, they are told that as for these scriptures, they require spiritual interpretations while simple biblical interpretation methods could unearth the truths of those scriptures.
When the Bible tells that Christ Jesus is the Savior of the world, it systematically proves it. No spiritual interpretation is required. It is clear for all with basic understanding of texts to understand it. The Bible indicates that “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me (Psa 406-7, Heb 10:7). When some of Jesus´ disciples doubted His resurrection, He explained to them the scriptures. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luk 24:26-27).
The above passages presuppose that committing oneself to the study of scriptures would uncover the truths about God and His Son because they are revealed in the pages of the Book. If unbelievers study the Word with open-mindedness, they would discover the Savior in the “volume of the book” but it is by believing in the texts that they would be saved.
The problem may not be with the understanding of the biblical texts but the faith to believe or to accept the claims that the Bible makes. It is written that “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Heb 4:2). Also, Jesus did not do more miracles in His hometown not because they did not understand His teachings but because they did not receive them with faith (Mat 11:58). Believers must desist from false claims of the Biblical teachings and commit themselves to the proper study of it.
An evidence is that which authenticates claims. It is not only material or tangible but observable. Claims that could be testified to by genuine eye-witnesses are enough evidence to settle a matter. Moses stated that “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death” (Deut 17:6). Therefore, a matter is settled with two or three witnesses (Deut 19:5, Mat 18:16, 2Co 13:1).
From the above paragraph, it could be said equivocally that the testimonies of the Apostles about the Messiah are credible. John records “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1Joh 1:1) is the one of whom they bear witness (1Joh 1:2). The Apostles’ testimonies about the Messiah should be taken as authentic. Jesus Himself, after His resurrection, presented Himself living by many infallible proofs, being seen by many through forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1-3). Jesus left proofs of His kingdom before ascending to heaven. he ascended to heaven in the presence of many witnesses (Acts 1:8-12).
Again, a changed life of a believer is an evidence of faith. It takes the power of God to transform a sinner to saint. When Saul received the Spirit of God, he became a changed person and he was seen by many people. They quizzed, is Saul also a prophet? (1Sam 19:24). The impotent man at the beautiful gate received a new life and that also was witnessed by many people who expressed awe at the sight of him. (Acts 3:1-11). Historical claims also provide sufficient evidence and an anchorage to the authority of the Bible. The past life of Paul as has been narrated in Acts chapter nine, is also, a clear evidence of the work and power of God. Unless a Christian does not have a first-hand knowledge of the Christ, s/he cannot be deceived by those who consistently deny God and fail to retain Him in their knowledge.
The Bible is a faith-based book but it´s records or accounts are trustworthy. Its claims are systematically presented and provides sufficient proofs to convince the simple of the existence of the Triune God. Unless one has not been touched personally by the Spirit of God, his or her changed life should be an evidence of his or her faith in God.
Prayer: May the Lord God Almighty reveal Himself to us and give us a first-hand knowledge and experience to strengthen our faith in Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!