2Co 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
It’s impossible not to notice that the world worships education. Politicians claim the answer to all of societies woes is education. Higher education pushes their fantasy that if we can only provide more education that the problems we see in the world would go away. This mindset has gradually taken over Christianity but in a different way. Today’s preachers and teachers claim their degrees and seminary training give them the ability to properly interpret the scriptures. Never mind the fact that every other preacher from a different denomination will give you a different opinion on the same verses based on his “training.” When I got serious about Bible study, I did what the vast majority of people do which is I started buying some books. Of course, I asked people within my denomination what books I should buy and of course they directed me to buy books from our chosen denomination. NEVER ONCE was I directed to buy books that teach opposing denominational views. This of course was intended to “build the team” and ground me in the teaching of the church I was a member of. This results in the sincere Bible student becoming grounded and settled in THEIR DENOMINATIONS position and NOT the Bible. Sure you think you are grounded in scripture because the books you purchase all say the same thing right? I challenge you, if you have the courage, to read the positions of ALL the other denominations on subjects like baptism, eternal security, tongues, healing, and then decide for yourself if Christianity really is in agreement. This is the point where you will find the education worshippers stand out. You will be told that you must have a firm grip on the original languages to properly understand the Bible. You will be encouraged to read things that prop up your chosen denomination. I, on the other hand, will encourage you to read every differing opinion you can get your hands on. You, as I did, will start to see how confused Christianity really is. The hope would be that you search out a way of Bible interpretation that actually makes the whole of scripture fall perfectly in agreement and harmony. You WILL NOT find this in the vast libraries found in most churches. Why? Because believing your Bible literally the way it is written is rarely taught in churches today. The mystery revealed by Paul is unknown in the seminary your preacher attended. Do you notice the word I underlined in the verses above? The word is SIMPLICITY. This word is not found in the commentary of many preachers and teachers because they find comfort and security in their education. Their education taught them to give spiritual interpretations to verses that you MUST interpret literally to understand the Bible properly. YES, this is the SIMPLE answer. Do not use a spiritualized answer to a question when there is a literal one in the Bible. It is disheartening at first when you see the simplicity that there is in scripture you have never been taught in the years you sat under highly educated people. You must understand they were taught as the professor they learned from to take the allegorical interpretation of scripture even though there is a MUCH simpler way. If they did not attend a seminary or Bible college, the books they read taught them to spiritualize the scriptures. I am not saying we should not study or read. I am 100% saying the VAST MAJORITY of books you will run across in Christian circles today DO NOT take a literal approach to the scriptures when it comes to God’s separate and distinct plans for Israel and the body of Christ. You will NO DOUBT be told that there is, but one gospel is the Bible when the Bible itself teaches that Jesus offered an earthly kingdom to Israel ALONE, and the gospel Jesus revealed to Paul was a secret not revealed before and was offered to ALL by grace alone. These are different! This is the literal interpretation. This is the teaching of scripture alone. The mixing of these two gospels in scripture is the cause of the confusion and denominationalism clearly seen in Christianity today. Won’t you have the courage to step away from the confusion being taught today to the clarity and simplicity the Bible actually contains?
The more I learned about reading and studying the Bible from a Bible believers standpoint the more I felt smothered by the denominational tradition I heard every week at church. It is disheartening and sad to listen to people obviously work to interpret a passage so it conforms to the position of the name on the building. I can’t explain to you the freedom you feel when you can sit down and read God’s word without constantly thinking about the position of the denomination you are a member of. When you learn to rightly divide your Bible and read it the way it was meant to be read, you can read with no fear of running across verses that teach something different than your chosen church agenda does. You can actually ignore the agenda of church tradition and be open to the actual teaching of the Bible whatever the outcome. Christians cannot be open to whatever they read because they read things all the time that don’t seem to teach what their church teaches and they have to ignore it and just pretend that their preacher knows best because he went to Seminary. Read what Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:1.
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
Does the word of the Lord have free course in your life? Seriously. I know how you answer this because we were brought up to know how to answer all these questions the correct way since we were little. I want you to really think about this question. Does the Bible have FREE COURSE in your life? In other words do you feel FREE to change your course at ANY given point in your life based on what you read in scripture? I can answer this for you because I spent about 40 years in the Baptist church. I know for a fact that when I asked questions they were always answered to line up with Baptist beliefs. You know this because whatever belief system you grew up under is the position you were taught and then you were told that your church is right and all the other churches don’t interpret the Bible correctly. If you are a member of a supposedly non-denominational church it does not matter. You will be answered in such a way that it lines up with the agenda of the pastor and the churches chosen beliefs. How is this letting the Bible have free course in your life? You already know ITS NOT. The Bible is taught to match the agenda. I simply ask you this: What happens to a Sunday school teacher that teaches something different than the denominational standard? You know what happens; he gets relieved of his duties by the pastor. What happens to a pastor that strays too far from the denominational tradition? You know what; the Deacons relieve him of his duties and ask him to leave. You know this is true because you have probably seen or heard of this happening in your church or close by. This IS NOT letting the Bible have free course in your life. This is putting yourself in a box and that box says on the outside in bold letters “TRADITION.” When you rightly divide your Bible by who is speaking, to whom and then asking yourself; am I in the audience, you can let every verse say what is says and just BELIEVE IT. This is FREEDOM from the tradition you get taught every week. This is truly letting the Bible have free course in your life. This is absolutely being open to letting scripture change the tradition you have been taught regardless of the consequences. Let me tell you from experience, the liberty you could have in Christ is worth it. The more I deal with people bound by tradition the more I am thankful for the freedom that can be found by being a Bible believer.
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul