By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
My subject is about the importance of firsthand knowledge of the Bible. Too many persons have only secondhand, thirdhand, fourthhand, or even less direct knowledge of the Bible. They only know what someone has told them the Bible says, and that might be correct or incorrect.
I am reminded of a young man back in maybe 1980. We worked at the same factory. I had spoken to him about accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior, and had told him some things the Bible says about that subject. He dogmatically said the Bible has many errors in it, and that it therefore cannot be trusted. So, I asked him to give me some examples to prove his claim. He could not give me any examples of errors in the Bible. He had only been told it has errors, and believed what he was told. I was amazed to learn that he had very limited ability to read, and yet he said the Bible has many errors.
Not only do many question the Bible who have never read it. It is also sadly true that many who do believe it have never read it, or have seldom read it. Of course it is better to believe the Bible even if one has not read it, for it is true, read or not read it. But it is much better to read it and learn its contents firsthand. There are several benefits of learning the Bible’s contents by one’s own reading of it. One of the most importan benefits is that its truths will come to mind when you need its teaching, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, and comfort. Christians have often found themselves in the midst of some heart-wrenching problem, such as the serious illness or death of a loved, and Psalm 23 has come to mind and brought them God’s comfort. Many years ago we lived in Minneapolis, and I had taken the public bus to some destination. When I got off the bus, a woman was standing on the sidewalk handing out religious literature to anyone who would take it. She said to me, “The Bible says, ‘Know yourself, and the truth will set you free!'” I said to her, “No, it says in John’s Gospel that Jesus Christ said, ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” I was not drawn into the cult she represented because the Bible’s contents came to mind just when I needed it. I am grateful I had read it for myself.
Well, if you don’t already do so, you need to read the Bible for yourself. There is no substitute for firsthand knowledge of the Bible. And, it will take many readings of it to get really familiar with its contents.
Here are some highly recommended English Bible translations to choose from: The King James Version (old English). The following are in modern English: the New King James Version, the English Standard Version, the New American Standard Version (updated in 1995), the 1984 edition of the the New International Version, My preference is for the King James Version and the New King James Version.
If you want to learn what the Bible says must be done in order to go heaven, click on the following link and read the excellent article about the subject: http://www.godssimpleplan.org/gsps-english.html