Monday, February 14, 2011

The Importance of Understanding God's Word

The understanding of God’s Word is vitally important to spiritual growth. It is due to a lack of understanding that we experience such a huge separation of the church and also within the church today.

One of the most important reasons for placing an emphasis on understanding is that every believer in Jesus Christ lives their lives according to how they understand God and His Word. If God’s Word is not understood, then how do we know what pleases God? How do we know our lives are truly in accordance with the Will of God? How do we know if we really treat others as God expects us to?

Jesus commended understanding

In the context of Mark 12:32-34 Jesus was questioned by a scribe about what the most important commandment is and when Jesus answered the scribe replied in verses 32-33 “"Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." (NKJV)

Notice the scribe stating we should love God with all understanding and to this the Holy Spirit has written through Mark in verse 34 that “Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." But after that no one dared question Him.” (NKJV)

So even Jesus commended the scribe for being wise in stating that we should love God with all understanding.

Paul prayed for the Colossians to have understanding

In Col 1:9-10 we find the apostle Paul writing to the Colossian church “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (NKJV)

Notice that Paul does not only pray that they be “filled with knowledge” but also that within this knowledge they also have “all wisdom and understanding”.

I have come across many who are able to quote Scripture accurately, yet they do not understand fully what the Scripture actually means. Hence why having knowledge of the Scriptures was and still is not good enough, but rather to have and understanding of the Scriptures which, as Paul writes in the above passage, will ensure “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him…”

Paul desired Timothy to have understanding

When we look at the background of Timothy we find that he was already knowledgeable of the Scriptures. He was taught the faith by his mother and grandmother from a very young age (2Tim 1:5). Despite him already being knowledgeable, Paul yet writes to him in 2Tim 2:7Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.” (NKJV)

Emphasize understanding

Scripture gives us clear indications that besides growing in knowledge, with this knowledge should also come understanding. We need to always strive towards gaining an understanding of God’s Word and not just a knowledge of it or else we will not know how to truly live our lives according to the Will of God.

The challenge we should take upon ourselves is to give due diligence to the study of God’s Word which is the only way in which we will be able to gain the understanding which is truly pleasing to God.

The challenge is to sacrifice our time to gather together with the pure and only purpose of studying and discussing God’s Word with open minds and without preconceived ideas. This is how we will truly understand the Bible and properly apply it to our lives.

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