THE PROPER ATTITUDE IN READING THE BIBLE
Concerning the way we study the Bible, I would like to mention a few things. First, there is a group of people who believe only in grace. Whenever they read about things related to the kingdom in the Bible, they apply it to the Jews. If you listen to their sermons and read their books, they invariably push everything related to the kingdom onto the Jews. Everything related to grace is for the church, and all the terrible things are for the Jews. To them, everything burdensome, difficult, and demanding is for the Jews, not for us. This is foolishness. God’s Word is for His children, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Some say that Paul never specifically said that his Epistles were written to Gentiles, and therefore, they are not for Gentiles. But this kind of explanation explains away and cuts apart the Word of God. Others say that the portions of the Scriptures quoted earlier refer to unbelievers only. But how can the distinction between overcomers and non-overcomers exist among the sinners? This is foolish talk. The Word of God shows us these matters in a clear and definite way. We have to eat what God has given us, whether it is sweet or bitter. When men hear about grace, they are happy; when they hear about the kingdom, they are unhappy. But the Word is balanced. On the one hand, we see grace; on the other hand, we see righteousness.
There is the fable of the eagle and the cat. Once a cat met an eagle. The eagle said to the cat, "The sky is really great. It has this and it has that. Would you like me to take you up to the sky?" The cat said, "No, I do not care to go there." When the eagle asked why not, the cat said, "There are no mice in the sky. If there were mice there, I would go. But since there aren’t, I won’t." Heaven is so holy; sin, the world, and Satan are not there. If God brings you to heaven, will you be able to live there? If we do not turn today, we will have to wait until we are worthy to enter in. It is true that the Lord Jesus has saved us, but subjectively speaking, if we do not allow the Holy Spirit to work the Lord Jesus into us, God will have to chastise us that we may receive the benefit and be counted worthy to be with Him. If we only preach grace without preaching the kingdom, the church will suffer and God’s children will suffer; and when the kingdom comes, there will be even greater suffering. I must speak as I ought to speak.
I admit that after my speaking in these few days, some will increase their opposition against me. If these are my words, I am willing to see them opposed. Even I myself would oppose them. But if these things are the Word of God, and if God has spoken them, what can I do? How I wish that I did not have to talk about these things. How I wish that I could preach something that everyone would like to hear. I am not Matthew. I am not Mark. I am not Paul. I did not write the book of Hebrews, and I did not write Revelation. If I were the writer, I could change things. But these things are God’s Word. God has spoken them and determined that they should be so. My friends, when you read the Bible, you have to read what God has said. You must not consider what man has said. You should only care for what God has said.
The greatest difficulty today in studying the Bible lies in the prejudice in the mind of God’s children. They have what they consider as truth and what they consider as heresy. They think that everything that matches them is truth, and everything that does not match them and that differs from them is heresy. Regardless of how scriptural a basis there is for it, any thought or concept contrary to theirs is considered heresy. But if that is one’s attitude, he is through. At issue today is what God has said.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 24, by Watchman Nee)