America has become a land of instant everything. One can purchase instant soup, instant coffee, instant iced tea, instant mashed potatoes, and countless other instant items. The advent of the microwave oven also has increased this demand for instantaneous fulfillment. No longer must hungry consumers wait thirty minutes for a meal to be prepared; now they can have it piping hot in only thirty seconds. If Americans cannot have it in an instant, then they do not want it at all.
Unfortunately, this attitude of having everything in an instant has not missed the realm of Christian life. Because Bible knowledge can never be attained instantaneously, many Christians in America neglect studying. This can be seen in the advertisement for a new "Bible" that is on the market: the "One Minute Bible." The advertisement for this book asks, "Never seem to have enough time to regularly read the Bible?" It then goes on to describe how the book is arranged into 366 daily one minute Bible readings that highlight "every primary Biblical topic and theme." Just like instant coffee, now there is instant Bible knowledge available, and all it takes is one minute per day!
This attitude toward Bible study contributes to the increasing departure from the faith that continues in the church today. Because brethren have not devoted the time to learning what God's will is, they are "...tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,..." (Eph. 4:14). And there are many contrary winds blowing in the brotherhood today, whose destructive forces exceed those of any hurricane, tornado, or typhoon.
One of the best ways to avoid such damage to the Lord's body is by prevention. When hurricane warnings are given, home owners and store owners scurry to board up windows, store up provisions, and to make whatever preparation they can for the coming storm. The same principle holds true for the Lord's church. The warning was given long ago: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1). Those in the early church who heeded the warning protected themselves from the coming departure by being aware of it and by knowing what the truth of God's will is (1 Tim. 4:6). The same preparation must be made today. The people of God must be aware that departure is taking place and must not be ignorant of His Word.
God's warning to Israel ought also to be a warning to the church. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,..." (Hos. 4:6). Knowledge of God's Word protects from sin (Psa. 119:11). Christians are commanded to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18). Searching the Scriptures to prove what teachings are true is a noble thing to do (Acts 17:11). But all of these things demand determined study of the Word, not an instantaneous obtaining of knowledge.
An old saying states that anything worthwhile does not come easy. This principle certainly is true of Bible knowledge. Men who have devoted their entire lives to studying the Bible would be the first to admit that there is no end to its depth. Only a daily feasting on the Word can bring about that kind of knowledge that the Christian needs. But he first must develop that intense desire to know God's will. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Pet. 2:2). Then, based on the intense desire, must come the diligent study. "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).
When Christians again realize the importance of Bible study and devote the time to it that is necessary, then the false teachers in the land will have a much harder task in trying to lead people away from the truth.
Kevin D. Beard, Bybee Banner, 5/7/00
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