How do we balance the above Biblical principle with the fact that every human being will tend to read his own biases into the Scriptures?
We certainly need each other as Christians. Wisdom in a multitude of counselors. I think circuit riding preachers, covering half a dozen churches a month, must have had the hardest job ever staying straight with the Word.
We also need resources to read. So we need the people, alive now and in the past, to write them.
How do we determine which resources to use?
Is there really anyone who “just reads the Bible and lets it speak for itself” with no resources whatsoever? Not even the notes in a Scofield reference Bible?
You will see with me that some of my questions are asked prematurely, when another day of study will either answer them or shape them differently. That probably goes for all of us sometimes.
For example, the question I asked several days ago about women praying and prophesying with their heads covered. The KJV translates “gune” as women. The ESV (which I read the next day) translates it as “wives” and has a note about the veil that identified a married woman in the first century. Bingo. Now I know.
If I trust the ESV writers and their notes. And I do. I prefer the KJV, but I will use other versions for study.
Note: some of the grammar in the ESV makes me crazy. Nouns must agree with their verbs in gender and number. No exceptions. Sorry!
So, there probably is no person alive who will actually mount a pulpit without consulting study aids. But there were such people in the past.
One of them seems to have played a key role in Spurgeon’s salvation. Remember the story? A storm. The regular pastor didn’t get to the church. Spurgeon stopped at this church, not his own, also due to the storm.
The unlearned man in the pulpit just kept repeating “Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.” Good tactic when you’re not educated. Repeat the Word. Over and over.
Spurgeon was saved that night.
God is sovereign over all.
Now, there are some purists who might bring up the fact that Spurgeon was saved from a verse in Isaiah and much of Isaiah isn’t written to the modern believer. Was that a happy misapplication of a verse not even intended for him? Okay . . .
The passage said “all ye ends of the earth.”
But, someone will counter, in Isaiah’s day, “all the ends of the earth” was limited to much less than we now know to be “all the ends of the earth.”
Thankfully, for Spurgeon, history seems to have it covered so even the purists can deal with it. The U.S. certainly doesn’t play into Bible history, but England does. There is extrabiblical evidence that Joseph of Arimathea may have visited England in the first century (wealthy man, shipping trade, etc.). The theme of “all the ends of the earth” was certainly repeated in the New Testament/first century.
If the extrabiblical evidence is incorrect, then Spurgeon was just saved due to a happy display of God’s sovereignty. I doubt even the extreme purists would ask him to give back his salvation based on the fact that Isaiah may not have known about England . . . (God knew about it).
I think we need to be aware of study aids and use them. And realize that, in the end, God doesn’t need them (but we do!).