Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Establishing Bible Authority

On Sunday I went to church with my Grandfather. (I won't say which church- but to an non-LDS church.)

The people could not have been nicer, and the service was very nice too. The minister spoke on finding hope in life through Jesus Christ. I thought it was very good.

Sunday School I found particularly interesting. The topic for the day was "Establishing Bible Authority." That is topic never discussed in the LDS church, so I listened with keen interest.

The teacher was a very good teacher. He was an eighth grade teacher by profession. He had good style, and was interesting, as well as being well read. I liked him a lot.

I didn't make any comments- but I would like to comment here. The whole need for "establishing Bible authority." Is because different people will read the same passage of scripture and find different meanings and interpretations. Even the Bible they are studying, could very well be a different "version," with slightly different wording.

I wanted to say, "You sound an awful lot like Joseph Smith. He too was concerned about the teachers of religion of the different sects understanding the same passages of scripture so differently. In his mind this would destroy all confidence in settling questions by an appeal to the Bible."

The Sunday School teacher's conclusion was interesting. He completely disagreed with the phrase, and the entire idea of "Establishing Bible Authority." Instead, he said that you cannot understand a passage of scripture one way, and another person understand the passage of scripture a different way. One of you does not actually "understand" the passage. Again, I agreed with him.

-- But then the agreeing stopped for a minute- when he explained that "some people- who disagree with you (the person who "understands correctly" I assume) will say that they feel in the "heart" that it is not right. In his mind this was a "cop out." something that one might say who didn't really understand.

He did not suggest that personal revelation was a method in which to understand the scriptures- but rather that trusting the feelings of your heart was not correct, and intense study was the only method.

This is where I wanted to comment again. I wanted to show him a passage in James, chapter one, verse five, which says that if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, which giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. God is the source of truth and wisdom, and yes, he does speak to us in our hearts. I know this, because he has he spoken to me. He has brought clarity and understanding to the scriptures for me.

I wanted to share with him, that I remember as a young girl, no more than ten years old, I was reading the scriptures in my father's den. I was reading the words, and felt very frustrated, because I didn't understand anything. I went to my mother, and expressed my frustrations. She didn't sit down with me, and try to help me understand the chapter or verse that was confusing me, but rather she taught me a life long lesson. She told me to go and pray, and that God would help me to understand. She told me that I must do this every time I read the scriptures, so that I will understand them. I did just that. I went back into the den, and knelt by the old office chair. In my simple way, I asked my Heavenly Father to help me understand what I was reading. I then sat down, and re-read what I had read previously. I don't remember the chapter, or subject that I read that day. But I do remember very well the happiness that I felt, as I was reading, and understood. At my young age, I did not understand because I had studied so much, and was so well read. I understood because the Lord taught me, in my heart.

1 comment:

Michal said...

beautiful, christine. i think we take for granted the principle and the blessing of personal revelation. many churches don't believe in it. how grateful i am that i can feel god's power and love in my life, that i can feel him directing my path, that i can go to him to understand the scriptures.
you did a great job here building on common beliefs, by the way.