All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Too many of us ministers and Sunday school teachers are intent to reach for a commentary on the Scriptures. What we need most is to search the Scriptures for ourselves.”
– Rev. A. W. Tozer, Men Who Met God
My daily dose of Tozer was added to a two-day dose of Chambers. Oswald Chambers had written about being alone with God. Everyone should seek out time to be alone with God. I’ll get to the details of the Chambers devotions in another post, but before we can talk about looking inward and relying on guidance from the Holy Spirit, we need to know which voice is talking to us. We can only do that if we’ve read the Bible.
Rev. A. W. Tozer talked about a friend of a friend. His friend was a well-known Bible scholar and his friend was a Michigan farmer, who had been transformed into something different. People in the farmer’s community recognized the change. The farmer had new understanding of Scripture. The neighbors were amazed at his understanding. They even went to him for advice.
What caused the change? The farmer decided that things weren’t right in his life, so he started reading the Bible. He dug deep. The farmer told his Biblical scholar friend, “Something happened when God opened my spiritual understanding as I studied the book of Ephesians. I cannot explain what the Lord is doing for me and through me, but it has come through prayerful meditation in the Word of God.”
I was talking to a friend the other day. The subject got around to the creation story. We were talking about everything being done in six days, and whether a belief in the literal words were significant. We both agreed that God, in His wisdom, could understand the concept of a twenty-four-hour day since He invented it. Also, God could keep track of time, even though the sun and moon, to mark the time, weren’t created until the fourth day. It wouldn’t bother us, however, if those days were longer than a day, either.
Then, I said that the six days were really two threes. I mentioned the significance of “3” and “7” throughout the Bible. My friend asked me to explain.
What was created on day one? Light and Dark. What was created on day four? Stars, moon, and sun. What was created on day two? The separation of the firmaments could be translated into creating air (or atmosphere) and the seas on earth. What was created on day five? Birds and Fish. Days three and six marked the creation of land and the creation of land animals, including man.
I said that God created construction management first, if you will. You don’t build anything without setting a good foundation. God laid down the foundations in the first three days, then He populated those foundations in the next three days. Then He rested on the seventh day.
My friend asked where did I read that, or did I just figure it out?
Well, I cannot rule out a Sunday school teacher teaching me that in my youth, but I had undertaken in the late 90s to develop a computer-based training program for the Bible. The software that I used is incompatible with modern computers, so it would be very hard to update. Yet, I did teach from it for a few years. When I started to organize my thoughts on creation, two threes versus the six simply made sense. Of course, it came from digging deep into the Scriptures to develop something unique. I had been a construction manager in the past. It simply jumped off the pages. I could only conclude that God revealed the concept to me.
Some people want to corroborate every word that comes out of the mouths of others. Where did that thought come from? What great Bible scholars can verify what you just said?
Yes, sometimes people can interpret a text the wrong way. Things can be taken out of context. But when the new interpretation of the text doesn’t change the foundations of our faith, we can learn a lot from a Michigan farmer, who simply dug into the Bible until God revealed its wonders to him. Notice the farmer’s testimony. God opened his spiritual understanding. He did not say, “I read Ephesians and figured things out.” The farmer focused his testimony on what God did. Without God doing it, the farmer could not have understood anything. This may be why so many preachers and teachers turn to the commentaries. They either don’t trust in God or they don’t seek that time when they can be alone with God, with their Bible open and their spiritual ears ready to hear God’s voice.
Devotions are nice. I read five each day. Commentaries are useful. I have Matthew Henry here in the room, but nothing can compare with a daily dose of God’s Holy Word. What A. W. Tozer said bears repeating.
“What we need most is to search the Scriptures for ourselves.”