Summary: Everyone wants a word from God, but they do not know the Word of God.
Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
Because Israel did not listen to their prophets there would come a time when they would want to hear from God when they were in trouble and God would not answer. That is an extremely bad place to be. Notice they ran all over the place trying to find it. Much like people today going from conference to conference hoping to get a Word from some speaker or someone in the audience. Sometimes it is a Mars Hill thing where they are looking for some new thing because what has already been said is a bit stale to them. The Western World, especially America, is hungry for the words of the Lord, not the hoo-ha of man’s logic and religion.
I was going to speak on an entirely different issue, but I had a conversation with a young man who wanted to go deeper in God’s Word and then the visiting pastor spoke about biblical illiteracy. Hence this message because in many years of ministry I have seen few who wanted to go much deeper than being saved and how to get God to bless them here. Interest in prophecy equated to who is the Anti-Christ, the Harlot and when will the Rapture happen or some other point folks wanted to argue about whether it was very clear or clearly the issue was not defined to the level people wanted.
Having the advantage or disadvantage of moving about the country to live or for training is that I have heard many things that have left me shaking my head. Sometimes I could tell the person most likely did not read one page of Scripture. Others got their opinion from a dear great-grandparent or from Dr. Goodwords over some media form. I have asked often for a scripture from where they got their belief and could not get one. If they took a verse out of context I could at least know they were looking in the right place and could possibly clarify and end their confusion. Sometimes I would say something and the person would tell me that is not in the Bible. So I turned my bible to face them and said show me where it says that I am wrong. I might get a “I don’t where it is but I know you are not right.”
Quoting Scripture does not always help them. I quoted Mark 16:16 “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved...” to a person who believed or at least his denomination believed in infant baptism. I asked how can a baby believe and he still held his position though he had no argument against what I shared. There is no Scripture that says people become angels when they die or that there are little chubby baby angels like you see on Valentine’s Day, but people believe that. Unfortunately, because of chapter divisions in the Word people miss the context of some passages and believe things that are not true.
Chapter divisions are not inspired, but were given to help with the way we read. In the Greek text you either have all lower case or upper case without spaces or punctuation. I tried doing that in English and it is fairly easy and does not take too long to grasp it. I cannot imagine how much better a grade I would have gotten on my term papers in college if I did not have to worry about those things.
Here is how we fix the illiteracy problem.
2 Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
First we have to believe that all scripture is given by inspiration. In theological terms were to believe the Word is verbal-plenary inspired meaning God wrote every word and meant what He said. That is why it is good for doctrine and reproof, identifying the error, and correction to the error. Once you start there you will have a lesser tendency to write off things or try to read into what you want it to say which is called eisegesis. We are to exegete the Word pulling out of it what it means even when we do not like it. Many cults got started because their founders did not like Hell, monogamy or some other doctrine so they rewrote the Word or changed the meanings of words to fit their agenda.