Before we all got born again, we already had fixed ideas, that have formulated what is known as our worldview. A worldview is simply what it says, “the way we view (see, interpret) the world (and the people, events and actions in it)”. These ideas are the ways we interpret life, define ourselves, and of course, choose our course or direction in life.
We have gained this worldview through culture, entertainment, education, upbringing and religion. It is on the basis of our unique worldviews that we are practically different from each other, not because of our tribe, nationality or even social status.
This way of thinking, informed by your worldview, remains with you, even after you get born again, unless you go on by “renewing your mind” with the word of God (Romans 12:2). And it is these individual perspectives that we often times bring to the word of God. So, we read INTO the Scriptures our ready made ideologies and belief systems, instead of reading what God’s word actually says with an open mind.
What is an open mind?
This is an unbiased mind. A mind that refuses to determine the meaning of facts before considering the “figures”, that is, the content of information available. While this is not talking about an empty mind, with no fixed set of ideas, it is a mind that gives a set of information the chance to explain (or prove) itself. And as you know, the Scriptures affirm that we who are born again have been given a sound mind, which is the mind of Christ (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Corinthians 2:16, Philippians 2:5).
Even though the books of 2 Timothy and 1 Corinthians show that we already have this mind as our inheritance, we see the Spirit of God saying in the book of Philippians, to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (2:5). That is, if you do not insist that this is your new mind, you will keep indulging your old mind, and you will suppress the agenda of God for your life. Until you belief exactly what God says in His Word, not your old mind’s worldly interpretation of what He says, you cannot profit from the Word of God.
Renewing the mind
So how do we renew our minds? First, you must know that to renew means to change the settings of your mind, you know, as if to return it to factory setting. Renew! It means all that you have believed contrary to God’s Word must now be dropped. And you experience this renewing in a progressive fashion. Your mind is being renewed as you exchange your old beliefs for God’s truth.
Now, it is a mind that is constantly experiencing this renewing that can read the bible and profit from it.
To use aids or not
While it is proper for us all to read what others have written about portions of God’s Word, however, it is our renewed mind that helps us to discern what is a correct interpretation and application of God’s Word and what is simply a result of human ideas. I read expositions of a number of respected men of God, who themselves are examples of a renewed mind, but every once in a while I come across certain interpretations or even applications that I tend to pause, and check the Scriptures like the Bereans (Acts 17:11).
This a result of a mind undergoing constant renewing. The product of such “checking” might be a challenge of something I still quietly believe that is not supported by the full counsel of God. What do I do? I drop it, by the grace of God. But sometimes also if, in checking the Scriptures over and over, I realize that what is being taught is really not supported by Scriptures (unless it is made to say what it doesn’t say), then I will have to set aside that one, and uphold God’s Word.
I wish most of our brothers and sisters will do this. We love men too much that even when the Word of God clearly cancels out (or contradicts) what they are preaching, we will only excuse them, and “sanctify” their opinion as God’s Word when it is not. I believe we should honour men, but we must have an unbroken loyalty to Jesus much more, to always choose Him over anyone who preaches or teaches otherwise, as we seek to live fully for Him.
Without a renewed mind, we will keep reading denominational sentiments into the Word of God. And you know, that’s why people read this Bible, that is so clearly written, and refuse to see what it actually says, simply because a preacher has taught otherwise. If God is going to make progress with us, we have to allow God’s Word to change all our preconceived ideas (things which we’ve never questioned but is not supported by God’s Word). This is what it means for His Kingdom to come in our lives.
So, what have we said:
1. To understand God’s Word, we must read it with an open mind.
2. The best “open mind” is the renewed mind or the mind that is constantly being renewed by God’s Word.
3. We must learn to accept God’s Truth over self-imposed interpretations and/or applications of God’s Word.
4. When we continue with sectional or denominational sentiments that are clearly unbiblical, we are showing the measure of our unbelief, and we limit how far God can go with us.
And what have we not said yet:
5. The Holy Spirit is the One assigned to lead us into ALL aspects of the TRUTH. Hence, He must be the One to interpret the Word He inspired in the first place, and show us how to apply it (2 Corinthians 3:6, John 14:26). Which means we have to seek Him in prayers to know His mind (what He means in each Scripture).
6. And how do we know that IT is of the Spirit? Whatsoever He teaches us will glorify Christ. Among other things, that means it will not emphasize ALL that God has found fault with (Hebrews 8:7-8, 13) and it will not promote any aspect of the divine revelation to an extreme that will sideline other equally important aspects of God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It will encourage us to leave all shadows in the Scriptures in order to embrace the risen LORD Himself, who is the Substance. We leave the pictures for the PERSON!
John 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”
7. There is something about the love of the Truth that separates those who can profit from God’s Word from those who cannot. In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, we see that one critical thing that can make a person to perish is to not love the truth (v.10). In such a case, “…God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (v.11) and they further confirm this fate as their own choice by (still) believing “…not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (v.12).
All these 7 points revolve around one central principle of life: the principle of freewill. You are always free to choose. You can either believe the Truth or dismiss it. You can either love the Truth or despise it. Anyone who profits from God’s Word is certainly one who LOVES the Truth, has his FAITH in the Truth and HOPES in the Truth.
Hebrews 4:2, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”
Cf: 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 1 John 3:3, 1 Corinthians 13:13
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.
Picture credit: DoNotDepart, Swordsearcher