Thursday, 19 July 2012
CAN WE SURPASS TEACHERS IN UNDERSTANDING?
Teachers are specially gifted in the study and exposition of scriptures. That said, is it possible to have understanding that surpasses that of teachers?
The psalmist declares this as a matter of fact and not out of pride: “I have better understanding and deeper insight * than all my teachers, because Your testimonies are my meditation” (Psalm 119:9).
All this is because he is deeply in love with God’s Word. He constantly meditates on it and strives to follow its precepts. So he could appreciate – even more than all his teachers – the sublime beauty of the Word in all its wisdom and perfection.
Similarly, the boy Jesus confounded the mature teachers at the temple as He engaged in discussion with them. They were amazed at His understanding and answers (Luke 2:47).
The Bible is the only book whose author, the Holy Spirit, is always at our disposal, helping us understand its contents. Each time we study God’s Word, meditate on it and keep it, we should be able to receive fresh revelations.
But, if we want to be taught by the author, we must abide in Christ and be pure in heart.
If we merely use our intellect to study this book, we will not get very far. We need the author to illumine our understanding because the contents are meant for the spiritually discerning:
“These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).
“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears he will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13).
What a glorious privilege we can always consult the author of this book whenever we study it.
* “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him” (1 John 2:27).
This does not imply that teachers have no role to play in church. It means we are able to receive ‘first-hand’ gems from God’s Word; we do not always have to get it ‘second-hand’ from teachers.