There are plenty of big questions. Those are easy to find. Questions that rattle the foundation of a spiritual worldview, especially one as specific as the Bible. We rarely pursue the answers ourselves mind you. Instead we go searching on the web, or let our pastor or favorite writer or an actor or a politician tell us what to believe. And if they scoff, so do we. It’s settled.
Ironic, since we are certainly educated enough to know that some answers take time, that there are usually at least two sides to the story, and that occasionally even politicians are wrong. Come to think of it, we even live in a world where the scientific questions take years of study to fully comprehend. Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy and the many offshoots and applications of each, take years of study. And those are just to get the degrees that allow us to search for new answers -or debunk the old ones. We understand the need for time in science, and the need for effort, but we often don’t apply the same patience or effort toward other, more spiritual topics.
In other words, sometimes, the answers really aren’t easy. Sometimes they take time to figure out or grasp. Sometimes that’s how it is supposed to be.
There were times when people went after those answers, writing great volumes of books that today would continue to provide a depth of insight into the Bible that is not often seen in religious or academic circles. I should name-drop here and mention that I once asked John MacArthur in a radio interview what books he used when studying. I was interested because John writes books many ministers use, and I wondered, what does John read?
A bunch of old, dead guys was the answer. Does that sound bad? It shouldn’t. It was said with great respect in his voice, and I nodded with great respect as well toward those old, dead guys. The thinkers. The writers. The guys who came before us and searched and thought and dug deep. The G. Campbell Morgan’s of the world. Albert Barnes. Adam Clarke. Andrew Murray. Watchman Nee. Charles Finney. John Calvin. J. Sidlow Baxter. Alexander Campbell. C.S. Lewis. W.A. Criswell. Criswell and Morgan could see things in Scripture everyone else missed. Baxter could make the most obscure look obvious and meaningful. Murray and Nee had amazing insight into the Spirit. Finney could make me want to get saved. Again. Those are just a few writers. A drop in the bucket. There are many, many more.
You know what they did? They searched for answers. They thought things through. And fortunately for us they wrote stuff down. But they didn’t figure out everything. Sometimes they were even wrong. So this isn’t a post about listening to what they said all the time. It’s about doing what they did.
Instead of simply copying everything someone else tells us, we may be better off copying the example of those who have found answers and so many profound truths. They searched diligently, often without much help. And just because the question is big, and the answer is deep, doesn’t mean you and I can’t dive in and discover it ourselves. It may take awhile, but God’s creation often takes time to understand and grasp, too. Don’t merely dismiss the Bible, dig into it. Even you can do it. It worked for the old, dead guys. It still works for us, because after all, it’s the same God and same Holy Spirit.