Friday, November 25, 2022

Unlearned Men

The point of this week's discussion is this: any time someone tells you that you're not educated enough to understand the Bible, that person is trying to build his or her own authority so that he or she can preach their own understanding or adaptation. 

Sometimes, they're teaching the truth; often times, they are not. 

But if you look through the Bible, you'll see something strange happening - most of the men and women God chose, overwhelmingly most, were uneducated. 

He wasn't choosing the intellectuals. He wasn't choosing the elite. He wasn't choosing even the religious leaders. Samuel was adopted into the priesthood, not from the official line of priestly descent. Moses struggled with his own speech issues, but was chosen to speak anyway. David was a shepherd boy, the caretaker of his father's flocks. Amos was a fig picker. Even in the New Testament, we see that the peoples often "marveled" when the apostles spoke because they were "uneducated." And Jesus Himself was born into poverty, in the basement of an inn, no less. And when He read the Scriptures in the holy gathering, many asked even of Him, "Isn't He uneducated? He's just the carpenter's son." 

Over and over and over again, God has chosen the uneducated to whom to reveal His Word. Over and over again, He has shown that it doesn't take any special ability, except that which is given by Him, to understand. To prophesy. To preach. To love. To hope. 

There are no academic exegeses in the Scriptures. There are no word studies. No one stops to say, Gosh, I wonder what this means. The Scriptures are written plainly, spoken plainly, read plainly. It's not some hidden mystery that has to be discovered by all of our advances in academia. 

(In fact, if you've been following along with this blog for very long, you know that I absolutely hate what academia has tried to do to the Bible. It has tried for too long to tell the faithful that what they believe from the Bible is wrong because the Bible is "a human book written by humans within human history and if you don't know anything about humans, you can't possibly know anything about God." It's infuriating how even today, the Pharisees want to put a weight on you that you just can't bear.) 

Even Luke, who is perhaps one of the most educated of the biblical writers, doesn't make his account high-brow. He doesn't tell Theophilus that he'll do his best to relay the story, but he'll never understand it. No, he says that even his story is plainly told. Because it is the nature of the story of God that it is plainly told and that every heart that is open to it can understand. 


So no, there is no evidence, no reasonable argument, that you are ill-equipped to understand the divinely-inspired Word of God. There's no reason why you can't read your Bible and feel "strangely warm," as the disciples did on the road to Emmaus, knowing that God is with you. There is nothing at all to say that what you understand from the Bible, in the heart of your God-created being, is somehow insufficient or inaccurate. 

Yes, your flesh is going to get in the way. Mine does all the time. It's part of being human. But...God knew He was writing to humans when He started. To claim that our humanness is somehow a just doesn't make sense. It diminishes God, and right at the place where we are coming to understand His glory. 

Ignore that. 

God delights in His children who read His Word and are moved by it. Even, as He has shown so faithfully from the very beginning, His "uneducated" children who, in fact, are the only ones to ever truly tell the world about Him.  

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