“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” – Psalm 143:10
My favorite teacher in college was my chemistry professor. Yes, I know. Chemistry is such a difficult subject. How could this possibly be the case?
The reason is, she took a difficult subject and broke it down into simpler terms for me to comprehend. She made it her goal every semester to answer any questions we had before an exam. Also, she was a humble and down to earth kind of person. Simply put, she was a great teacher!
No matter how difficult a subject is, if you have a great teacher, you can learn anything. The same is even truer for our spiritual education. God is our teacher. He has promised to teach us all things from Holy Scripture.
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” – John 14:26
Isn’t this wonderful news? God doesn’t leave us stranded on an island with no help. He guides, advocates, encourages, and motivates us to understand the word of God.
However, understanding God’s word isn’t always easy. While He does teach us to do His will and has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to place us on level ground, that ground can get quite shaky.
For instance, there are many dogmas, creeds, and hermeneutical approaches to Scripture. How can one truly know if they are interpreting a passage biblically? What signs or clues can one draw from to increase their confidence in what they extrapolate from God’s word? Here are a few key verses to bear in mind.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
“For this is what the LORD says to the house of Israel: “Seek Me and live!” -Amos 5:4
God never says, “When you follow the historical-grammatical method you will find me.” The Lord never claims that the reader-response hermeneutic is the key to unlocking the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Instead, the Bible simply tells us to seek him.
I admit, this is a very general statement. How can you quantify this approach? How much is enough seeking? At least with the other methods there is a technical approach. You have a foundation or scientific apparatus to build upon.
But this is the problem with the science of biblical interpretation. Certain presuppositions are set in place by theologians who insert their own biases and opinion regarding Scripture. When you build upon other theologians rather than simply “seeking the Lord,” you will inevitably position yourself in a certain theological camp. This is why there are various denominations today.
What then is the answer? The answer is to seek the Lord. Read His word daily. Meditate on it day and night. Humble yourself and pray that God Almighty will reveal to you the truth. When your hunger and desire is evident, God will bless your studies.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for teaching us to do your will. Help us to correctly and rightly divide your word of truth. Jesus, you promised to send us the Holy Spirit. Our advocate, teacher, and helper. Holy Spirit, thanks for revealing to us the mysteries of the kingdom of God. May you continue to bolster our understanding of God’s love, justice, mercy, and grace. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.