Are you bored with God? Do you feel like you understand His message thoroughly, and (whether you articulate it, or have merely been subconsciously suspecting it) feel there is nothing more for you to gain by studying it further? If this is the case, how wrong you are!
“How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!” (Psalms 147:5 NLT)
While it is correct that the message of salvation is typically abbreviated from the entirety of Scripture, as more mature followers of Christ and in order to truly know Him, we must not isolate ourselves from the entire context of His Word. We must not, furthermore, make the mistake of assuming that either God or His revelation is simplistic–that it is intended merely to present the gospel message, and nothing else:
“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” (Hebrews 6:1-2)
According to this verse, what are the elementary principles of Christ? They are:
*repentence from dead works
*faith toward God
*laying on of hands
*resurrection of the dead
That’s quite a list, and I’ll wager that many of us haven’t quite mastered these “elementary” principles of Christ yet! Yet we are instructed to progress onward to “perfection”–translated in some versions as “maturity.”
Which leads us to the inevitable conclusion that it impossible to exhaust the message of the Bible in this life. We can faithfully study it during our entire time here and not learn everything God has said. I’ve heard it compared to peeling the layers of an onion–as you get past one, there’s always another layer beneath to explore–and that’s one way of looking at it. Yet God is so much greater than anything the minds we possess in these limited human bodies can comprehend. A better comparison might be seeing in black and white now, only to experience the full splendor of color with our resurrection bodies in eternity. St. Paul attempted to convey it this way:
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (I Corinthians 13:12)
The New Living Translation renders it:
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT)
So should we continue studying God’s Word, even though we feel we already know what He is saying to us? The unequivocal answer is, “yes,” because we do not yet know everything He is saying to us! But how can we know this is true?
The way we know that we have not yet understood everything God wants us to is wrapped up in Christ’s definition of what eternal life is:
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 NIV)
Can you honestly say that you already know–thoroughly and completely–God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent? Not in this lifetime, yet that is our assignment, from Christ Himself. And because Christ is identified as the Word of God (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh…” John 1:1, 14), the way to know the only true God and Jesus Christ is to make it our life’s ambition to study the written Word of God, the Bible!
Give us eternal life; help is know You, the one true God, and Jesus whom You sent! Amen.