Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Word is for you

For we do not write you anything you cannot read 
or understand.
2 Corinthians 1:13 NIV

This verse has always strengthened me, and it is from the epistle that most closely reflects my own life,
2 Corinthians, though I best not call it my favorite... every word of God is my favorite!

I knew a Baptist pastor once, who wrote that John's gospel should not be given to new Christians to read, because it takes years and years of study, even seminary training, to understand it.

On the other hand, it is John's gospel, his three letters, and his startling book, Revelation, that I give to new Christians, indeed all Christians, to read, and in teaching evangelical Greek, our lessons are always drawn from John's writings.

Not only that Baptist pastor, but many others, warn us against reading the bible on our own, unaided. They tell that the Word of God is too high and holy, too full of mysteries for the layman to grasp.

Read the church fathers (the Orthodox tell us), read imprimatured authors (so say the Catholics), read so-and-so's commentaries (as Protestants are expected to do), or run the risk of personal heresy. Such are the warnings I have heard.

My general educational background, my life experience, my adherence to the norms of Orthodox Christianity, and my ongoing participation in the life of the Church, these are what qualify me to read the Word, understand and interpret it, on the human side.

The Word itself promises,But you have not lost the anointing that He gave you, and you do not need anyone to teach you, the anointing He gave teaches you everything; you are anointed with truth, not a lie, and as it has taught you, so you must stay in Him.’
(1 John 2:27 Jerusalem Bible)

Whatever depths there are to be learned and understood in the Word of God, these the Spirit in us will teach us, nothing contrary to what the fathers have taught through the world and the ages. In fact, we will be confirmed in our faith, as we see our understanding and theirs agree, since there is only one Spirit.

Brethren, read the Word, live in it, do what it tells you and do not let yourselves be deceived by false humility in yourself or false authority outside. Christ has not left us orphans. He has left us the anointing that teaches us everything. He is with us. Do not be afraid.

No comments: