“They searched the Scriptures day after day” ~Acts 17:11
The church building committee were filling their cups with coffee or tea, considering which donuts would be the least calorie-laden and sharing bits and pieces of the latest events in their lives as they settled in for another round of talks.
Twenty minutes later, after grappling with a mountain of issues that stood in the way of adding the education wing to the church, one of the elders said, “Listen folks, I think we’re missing the point here. We’ve got plenty of skilled people in this group and between us, we can find the solutions. After all,” he grinned, “God helps those who help themselves!”
That seemed to lighten the mood until another voice was heard. “God helps those who help themselves?,” Darrell repeated. “Where in the Bible can I find those verses?” His question was followed by silence and shrugging shoulders.
“Allow me to answer my own question, you cannot find any such statement in the Bible. Actually, just the opposite is true, God helps the helpless. Romans 5:6 tells us, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Since we are struggling for answers about adding on to our church building, I think God would be more apt to reveal His will to us if we spent more time praying and less time trying to make things work according to our will.”
Although this is a fictional example, how many times have we repeated incorrect meanings to Bible verses? What is the context of a verse we quote and will it bear up under scrutiny? The following verse is a good example:
1 Corinthians 2:9 ~“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
“This verse is commonly interpreted to refer to the glories of heaven, and once we get that meaning into our minds, it is difficult to dislodge it and accept any other meaning. But Paul is really speaking here about the truths that have been revealed for the first time in the NT. Men could never have arrived at these truths through scientific investigations or philosophical inquiries. The human mind, left to itself, could never discover the wonderful mysteries which were made known at the beginning of the gospel era. Human reason is totally inadequate to find the truth of God.
1 Corinthians 2:10 ~”That verse 9 does not refer to heaven is proven by the statement in verse 10, God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. In other words, these truths foretold in the OT were made known to the apostles of the NT era. The us refers to the writers of the NT. It was by the Spirit of God that the apostles and prophets were enlightened, because (in the second sentence of verse 10) the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. ~Believer’s Bible Commentary; William Macdonald
Just as God directs our daily lives with His Holy Spirit, He also reveals the hidden wisdom in the Bible. To be like the Bereans in Acts 17:10-11 who examined the Scriptures daily to see if what they heard was true, we must ask God for wisdom, according to James 1:5-8. The next time we are tempted to pass along a snippet of Bible verse, let’s take a moment to research the context of the verse or verses and ask God for the true meaning.