Searching the Scriptures in Vain – Part 1

Knowledge Won’t Save You

My personal Bible study is still focused on Ephesians. When I reached the third chapter, I got sidetracked by the second and third verses where Paul discusses his writings. Below is the passage that caught my attention:

“For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” Ephesians 3:1-5

Paul assumes two things:

  • His written words will be read; he states that here and in other letters.
  • He expects his audience to study and understand the context of his words in light of the Old Testament writings. In most of his epistles, Paul references Old Testament passages in order to instruct his believers.

Christ’s Expectations

Christ also expected his audience to study and understand his words in light of the Old Testament writings. Take for example his discussion with the lawyer in Luke: “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” Luke 10:26

And in another place: “And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God….” Matthew 22:31

And in both Matthew and Mark about the writings of Daniel: “…let the reader understand…” Matthew 24:15  and Mark 13:14

And again: “’…Have you never read what David did…?’” Mark 2:25

“’Have you not read this Scripture…?’” Mark 12:10

“’…have you not read in the book of Moses…’” Mark 12:26

Perhaps the saddest words of Jesus are recorded in the gospel of John when Jesus takes the Jews to task over knowing Scripture but disbelieving God’s words in John 5:39-47.

“…You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (verses 39-40) and “…There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (verses 45-47)

You may wonder at my choice of art for this post; I chose it because it seemed to capture the idea that knowledge of the Scriptures does not necessarily lead to salvation. All the prophets and apostles stand to accuse those who read the words of God without belief.

Speaking for myself, it’s easy to fall into the trap of scholarship for scholarship’s sake. Looking into the Word will transform the earnest seeker informed by faith.

Join me for Part II of this study in the next post.

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7 thoughts on “Searching the Scriptures in Vain – Part 1

  1. Scripture is both a blessing and a responsibility. The Bible will be used to bring someone to Christ, or stand as a witness against that person before God. With the knowledge God has revealed, we all are responsible before Him. Good post!

    • We get so caught up in talking about mercy that we sometimes forget about justice. I love God’s word, but there’s this passage in Hebrews that always gives me a chill: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13

      Blessing and responsibility go hand in hand. Thanks for your comments.

  2. Pingback: 20131208 ROW80 Check-in | Kathrese's Writing Blog

  3. Pingback: Searching the Scriptures in Vain – Part II | Christ's Reflections

  4. Pingback: Searching the Scriptures in Vain – Part III | Christ's Reflections

  5. Pingback: Searching the Scriptures in Vain – Part V | Christ's Reflections

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