Posted on November 18, 2008
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3)
In our day, much of the teaching which is regarded as “profound” is often very complex, and sometimes even contradictory. On the other hand, the Bible contains teachings which, although they are indeed profound, are also very simple. That is what I hope this article will reveal.
Back when I was still a fairly new believer, I was invited to an MSN message board which I thought was a Christian message board at the time. As I hung around this message board a while, I later found it to be both bizarre and unbiblical – and the teachings which were being taught there seemed to have a cult-like grip on their followers. I can honestly say that this was one of the strangest experiences that I have ever had in my life, but it was part of what inspired me to alert people about deception which is posing as Christianity. Until then, I did not see much of a need for that.
As I tried to reason with the individual who was in charge of this message board (who I later found out was posting as 4 different people on this message board – and she was even posting as a man!), she would not really give me a response to much of the Scriptures that I put forth to refute some of the claims that she made, but she would simply give people the impression that I was not understanding her teaching, because it was so “profound”. At one point, she told me that it took her years of study in order for her to understand a certain theology system that she was teaching – and if someone does not understand this theology system, they will remain blind. Since this incident happened, I have been grieved to find similar mindsets among others who cling to various cult-like theology systems.
On the other hand, Jesus Himself gives the impression that He has a message which even a child can understand, and of such is the kingdom of God. (See Matthew 18:2-4 and Luke 18:16-17).
So, if you come across a theology system that is being passed off as the gospel, yet it takes years of study before someone can understand it, this should immediately raise a red flag! If someone gives the impression that we need some kind of a degree in order to properly teach the Bible, this should also raise a red flag!
If fact, it is when God works through the apparent inadequates of the world that His true power is seen most vividly. Take the following verse as an example:
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
Peter and John were “uneducated and untrained men”? Yet today, we are being given the impression that certain Christians are not even qualified to debate the “theologians” of our day unless they have a certain amount of education, or unless they know Greek and Hebrew. I believe that it is a good thing to be a theologian. However, I also find that those who are commonly regarded as theologians in our day are simply those who are able to twist the Scriptures in the most creative ways.
This is not an anti-intellectual article that I am writing, but I am just suggesting that too many “theologians” in our day seem to rely more on their own intellect rather than simply relying on the true knowledge of God. The plain truth is that God uses ordinary people to reveal His power (See Exodus 4:10-11 for another example), and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (See 2 Corinthians 12:9). I can not say that I understand any of God's truth because I am better or more unique than anyone else, but it is only because of God's grace (See my poem titled Only Through Jesus).
As for knowing Greek and Hebrew, I don’t have a problem with that. But I am sure that there are Greeks and Hebrews who know Greek and Hebrew better than many of the theologians in our day. Do you think that makes them giants of the Christian faith? If someone wants to learn the original Greek and Hebrew words in certain Bible verses, that is fine. But just be aware that understanding Bible based truth goes deeper than that – it is a matter of the heart. That is what I will explain next.
In Matthew 13:14-15, Jesus indicated that it is because of hardness of heart that people do not understand God’s truth. I have found that many atheists are often very intelligent people. So why is it that so many of them embrace such an outrageous fraud like evolution? It is because they know that God is the only alternative, and they simply don’t want to be held accountable to Him.
It is cases like that which continually prove that understanding God’s truth is not merely a matter of our own personal intelligence – it is a matter of the heart. I believe that intelligence is a good thing, and God can use our intelligence for His purposes if we simply submit to Him – But we also need to be aware that intelligence and wisdom are not the same thing. It is through His wisdom that God can use our intelligence for the right purposes.
Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy one is understanding.”
When the Bible talks about “the fear of the Lord”, it simply means to have a reverence for Him – and it is that reverence which is the beginning of wisdom.
I find that there is very little reverence for God in our day, and that is at least one of the reasons that there are so many different interpretations for so many different Bible verses. It is not because people are not intelligent enough to understand the Bible, nor is it because God is not clear enough....it is simply because of the hardness of our hearts (See Matthew 13:14-15 again). At the end of that verse that I just posted, we find that it is with the heart that we truly understand. This is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
If we only have a head knowledge, but not a heart knowledge, then we will most likely be puffed up with pride…for “knowledge puffs up [one’s self], but love edifies [our neighbor]. And if anyone thinks he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him” (1 Corinthians 8:1-3). We can also be sure that some people will not care how much we know until they know how much we care.
I hope it is clear by now that understanding God’s truth does not depend on whether or not we are more intelligent than others – it simply depends on whether or not we are truly submitting to God. This is why James 4:6 says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”. And, as I have pointed out in some of my past articles, we will not find ourselves becoming proud of how “humble” we are if we are truly submitting to God.
When God opens our eyes to the truth, we then understand the reason that He does not want us to be proud: it is not because he wants to ruin our joy by giving us rules that are hard to follow. You see, once He opens our eyes to the truth, we then realize that we have nothing to be proud of in the first place (See 1 Corinthians 4:7).
So God gives us this info not to make things worse for us – He gives it to us because He simply wants us to know the truth that will set us free! In that case, we will find a much greater joy than we ever had before, and we will then realize what we have been missing. God does not want to make things harder for us, but he wants us to know these things because He loves us.
The Bible shows us that we can be deceived by our own pride: “the pride of your heart has deceived you” (Obadiah 1:3). With this in consideration, it should be clear that even the most intelligent person in the world can be deceived if he or she is not submitting to God.
It does not matter how old we are, nor does it matter how intelligent were are, and it does not even matter how long we have been reading the Bible: If there is no reverence for God, then there is simply no wisdom (See Proverbs 9:10 again). That is the main point of this article.
Although much of the teachings which are regarded as “profound” in our day are very complex and confusing, 2 Corinthians 11:3 tells us that there is actually simplicity in Christ. And that is the “profound simplicity” which this article was named after. It is my hope and prayer that God will use this article to counter false teachings which are regarded as “profound”, simply because they are so complex.
We will not understand everything that we read in the Bible over night, because we need time for spiritual growth. But once we submit to God, He then shares the insights through His word which only He can give.
The Bible is not a book that will massage our ego, but it is a book that was given for our correction (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17). We naturally don’t like that, because correction goes against our pride. But once we receive this correction, we will then realize that it is given for our own good, exactly as that verse indicates. We will then rejoice that it was given to us.
Until we submit to God, we may only be going to the Bible to impose our own will on it rather than going to it for correction. We may only be going to it to find a proof text to back up what we already believe rather than going to it to let God change us. I grieve for those who do so, because 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 indicates that there is a “strong delusion” which will come on those who will not receive the love of the truth.
Wisdom's Call, by Ginny Larsen (Audio Devotional on You Tube)
8 Symptoms of False Teaching, by J.C. Ryle
God’s Word: The Only Protection against the Winds of Theology
What About God's Truth? (one of my articles)
What is The Gospel? By H.A. Ironside
The Power of The Gospel, by Dave Hunt
An Urgent Call To a Serious Faith, by Dave Hunt
Seeking And Finding God, by Dave Hunt
THE REASON FOR THIS SITE
WHAT IS SALVATION?
BACK TO MY HOMEPAGE