Learn to Know
Matthew, Chapter 11: 20-30
1. The Word of God
Have you ever wondered why the Bible is the world's most misunderstood
book? Why its teachings are ignored or branded as being obsolete?
The answer is, because comparatively few people believe the Bible is the
Word of God. To be sure, many agree that the Bible contains
classic passages and that it is the world's best seller: but the
Word of the Almighty God! no they cannot accept that. And yet the
fact is, if you want to be a really educated man or woman, and I mean
really educated, then the first thing you must learn is this: the
Bible is the Word of God. It wasn't the product of human
intelligence. The Bible was inspired by God's Holy Spirit: every book,
every chapter, every sentence and every word was God-breathed.
That is the first fact you will do well to accept if you really
want to know.
|2 Peter 1:
||20: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.|
21: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
2. Why was the Bible Given?
The Most High has a specific purpose in giving His Word. It is not a
book one would read for entertainment: it must be read to discover that
|2 Timothy 3:
||16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
In other words, the Bible was given to define moral behaviour acceptable to
God, to point out sin, to correct error, to teach us what we should do
in order to be righteous, like God is righteous. That is why the
Bible was given to me
- Doctrine: A principle, or set of principles and beliefs held
by a religious, political or other group.
- Reproof: An expression of condemnation for a fault or offence.
- Correction: An alteration being made to something that was
- Instruction in Righteousness: The process of teaching what is
3. Do I need the Bible?
Do I need correction? Most people think they're well nigh perfect.
Others may need correction: but not me! Speaking through the
prophet Jeremiah the Almighty says this about the self-deceiving
human heart - your heart - my heart!
Oh yes, I need the Bible. You need the Bible. We all need the Bible:
because we have all sinned and we cannot live by bread alone. Every
religious and political party needs the Bible for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction in righteousness. The
reason why this world is in such a mess, is because mankind in
general has rejected the Bible. In rejecting the Bible man has
rejected its, Author, the Saviour and the holy
laws which define sin and teach us how we ought to
conduct human society.
||9: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
|Daniel 9: 4-15:
||"We have sinned ... neither have we hearkened unto thy servants
the prophets ... to us belongeth confusion of face ... because we have
sinned against thee ... we have rebelled against Him ... Neither have we
obeyed the voice of the Lord our God ... Yea all Israel have sinned."
|Isaiah 6: 1-5:
||"... Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man
of unclean lips, and dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for
my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts."
|Matthew 4: 4:
||"But he (Jesus) answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live
by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
4. How should I Study the Bible?
Read it prayerfully with the sole intention of meeting these objectives:
King David was called ‘a man after God’s
own heart.’ Why? What special quality did this
shepherd have that earned him this description? I believe
the answer is found in this verse.
“Open thou mine eyes,
that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”
- To learn right from wrong
- To recognize sin within your own heart.
- To understand what the Almighty is doing.
- And to become righteous - like God is righteous.
(Psalm 119: 118)
David treasured the Almighty’s law more than any other
possession. He loved and thought about it day and night. Read
(Psalm 119) for proof of this amazing fact. David constantly
prayed to understand Yahweh’s law: to plumb the
depths of each command. Remember what Peter wrote in (2 Peter
1: 20-21), that both the prophecy and the understanding
of prophecy come from God. In other words we can no more
understand a divine prophecy than we can deliver one. Both the
prophecy and the understanding must come from above. So pray
for understanding like king David did. It will be given you in
response to your true reaction to Yahweh's law. You will either
see or you will not see. You will either understand, or the
message will pass you by even were it thundered in your ears a
thousand times. The study of Yahweh's Word, and in particular
the study of His law, will make you humble, wise, happy and
content. You too could become a man or woman after Yahweh's own
heart. He will react to your innermost yearnings just as He did
to king David's. He will open your eyes to see wondrous things
out of His law. But more importantly, He will grant you the fruits
of true understanding: obedience, peace, happiness and joy in
your own soul.
This means that we must not read the Bible with the intention
of proving others wrong: or even with the apparently noble aim of
teaching others. Because, as far as you - and I - are concerned,
your Bible was not written for other people. It was written
for you. My Bible was written for me. His Bible was
written for him. Her Bible was written for her. Do
you get the point? If you read the Bible with the wrong motive,
it will not benefit you one iota. Most, if not all, your studies
will be a waste of time. You will certainly fill your mind with
facts; which you could use to bash others over the head and show
them how much Scripture you know: but as far as your eternal
salvation is concerned, that will profit you nothing! You'll be
wasting your time.
Instead, you should read the Bible as though God were speaking
directly to you. To be sure there are parts which you may think
do not apply to you. After all you and I are perfect aren't
we? The fact is that divine diagnosis is critical. Do not skip over
it. Pray for spiritual eyesight to understand what God is saying to
you through those very verses. Read the whole Bible: alternating
between the Old and New Testament books. Read at least a chapter
a day and chew over the contents - all the while asking yourself
what has my Heavenly Father to say to me today? What
doctrine? What correction? What instruction in righteousness?
Add to your studies a holy respect for the Almighty God!
Fear Him! for He is a High and Holy Person; and though
He is your Heavenly Father, treat Him with the utmost respect.
||10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:|
and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
5. The Bible Interprets Itself
Remember that the Bible interprets itself. Obscure, symbolic passages in one of its books are explained elsewhere in
simple terms. As with all good instructional literature, the Bible is packed with illustrations and examples. In
the first five books of the Bible we find all the laws Yahweh gave mankind through His servant Moses. Then there follows book
after book of examples of how the Almighty reacts to His people's behaviour regarding those laws. How does He react
It's all there: the commands in the first books, the prophetic
warnings and living examples of how the Most High reacts in the
other books. You will not find many ethical decisions you have
to face in life which are not dealt with in the Bible: because
the Most High has not only told us how He wants us to live, but
He has also included examples in His word of what will happen if
we do not. It is folly of the worst kind to imagine that one can
ignore the directions and commands of the Almighty God and get
away with it.
- Family responsibilities
- Murder, Theft, Deception and Greed etc.
6. Assemble all the Texts
Believers spend hours arguing about doctrine. Many make the
mistake of trying to find texts which support what they think
is the truth. They conceive an idea and then spend hours trying
to find texts to support it. Instead, we should study all the
texts we can find on a given subject before deciding what to
believe. Invest in a Bible Concordance: it will enable you
to study many texts on a given subject. If time allows, look up
as many texts as you can. Then, after prayerfully studying them,
see what the Bible is saying on that subject. Don't teach the Bible:
learn from it. It is Yahweh's Word: and it has a great deal to teach
you. The Bible is life’s USER GUIDE: read it every day.
In critical matters, that is, in those areas where a mistaken opinion
could result in sin, be extra careful. Don't delude yourself into
excusing your own sins: because on the Day of Judgement -
and possibly even earlier - you'll regret it.
7. Truth at Two Levels
Most Bible truths are portrayed on two levels.
- The Physical
- This is the first level we humans can see and easily understand. It involves literal, physical things like nations, land masses,
trees, animals, fish, individuals and their possessions.
- The Spiritual
- This higher level contains the real lessons the Almighty is eager to teach us. It involves concepts, principles, motives,
thoughts and all the other activities which go to make up human character. To explain lessons on this level the Master often used
parables which are stories based on first level physical examples. By using a level one object lesson, a visual aid, the Saviour
high-level truths which are normally not grasped by the human mind.
The text which first triggered my awareness of how the Almighty
conveys information on these two levels is:
|1 Corinthians 10:
||11: “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world have come.”
This means that most, if not all, the experiences recorded
in the Old Testament (and possibly even the New) have a wider,
higher, spiritual application. They occurred in those ancient
days on level one; but were recorded ‘for our admonition’
for our learning! because they are ‘real-life prophecies’
of earth-encompassing realities scheduled to take place on a massive
scale in our day - upon whom the ends of the world have come.
This means that when you read an Old Testament story, besides
learning the obvious moral lessons it contains, look beyond the
literal story and focus on the prophetic truth behind the
story. If you do this - and if Yahweh opens your eyes - you
will see the real lesson the story contains: the lesson the Most
High wants you to see. Here are a few examples of high-level truths
hidden in well known Bible stories:
- The story of the Image of Gold in (Daniel chapter 3). Here
we saw how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down
and worship the golden image, even though they were threatened
with death in a fiery furnace. Now compare this story with
the end-time prophecy of (Revelation 13: 15-16) where all
who refuse to worship the image of the beast should be killed.
The first experience is more than a story. It is a prophetic
drama for our time: because soon we'll be faced with the same
alternatives: worship the image of gold and you can buy and sell.
Or refuse to worship and face economic sanctions and apparent
death. What choice will you make?
- The call-out of Yahweh's people from Babylon in Jeremiah chapters
50 & 51. Again, compare these passages with the call-out of Babylon in
the book of the Revelation.
||"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the
great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and
the hold of every foul spirit ... Come out of her my people, that ye be
not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues ...
Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city: for one hour is thy
8. Bible Translations & other Aids
Currently there are over 100 English translations of the entire
Bible and over 300 of the New Testament! There was a time I
quoted from many of these translations, incorrectly supposing
that they were all the Word of God. But I was wrong.
Not all are the Word of God. Some may be easier to understand
than others, but not all are the word of God. See the
A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada article
Bible Versions Which is the real Word of God
for more information on which English translation of the Bible
you should study.
Bible Dictionaries & Concordances
In my opinion, these are a better investment than Bible
Commentaries - mentioned below. I use two concordances:
Strong’s and Young’s. I also
use the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible.
These are very expensive and often reflect one particular
denomination's or author's views. They do not compare with
direct Bible study.
9. Make Notes
In the arena of learning nothing exercises the mind more than
writing down what you have learned. It is for this reason
that A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada advises all who
study its Course
to write down the questions and scriptural answers. Try to get
into the habit of writing down what you have learned. If
necessary make notes in the margins of your Bible. Underline
passages that impress you as being important. Set up your own
reference system which will point you to a preceding or
succeeding text which deals with the same subject. Do not be
scared of ruining the pages: because when you write something
down on paper, you are in fact writing it on your mind.
Keep a Note book and write down the things you have learned.
If you have a computer, so much the better; because you will
then be able to update your work regularly.
10. Practice Truth
In the book of Daniel there is a vital clue to understanding
||9: “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. |
10: Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried: but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”
What is this text saying? It is saying that understanding will
not be given to the wicked, ‘none of the wicked
shall understand:’ But understanding is given to the
righteous, to those who have been purified, made white and tried.
In other words, true understanding is not a matter of human intellect,
education, will power or finance. True wisdom and understanding
are gifts from God to those who do His will.
The sincere desire to know and obey Yahweh’s law is the
very first step towards true wisdom and understanding. Conversely,
the path of wickedness leads inevitably to ignorance, confusion and folly.
This means that if you really want to know, you must
Trust and Obey
the Almighty: and as you do this your path will become brighter
and brighter as time proceeds. You will learn more and more, not
only about human nature and its follies, but of Yahweh's plans,
His methods and His aims and, perhaps, even His motives. For you,
life will not become a confused mess, as it is with so many people,
but a glorious journey with Yahweh as your pilot.
||18: “But the path of the just is a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
11. Secret Things
Yahweh has many things He wants to reveal to the human race.
But, alas! most are hidden from our understanding. Not because
the Almighty wants us to remain in the dark, but because advanced
knowledge is a powerful thing. Without holiness, inner strength
and experience, knowledge can produce terror, pride or
doubt. For example, if at the start of our adult lives
the Most High told us everything that lay ahead, we might give
up our faith through sheer terror. Or we might become puffed up
with pride at our advanced knowledge. Or, with our limited experience,
we may even doubt His love, His wisdom and His power. That is why
He only reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets: and even
they often failed to understand His purposes. Through the prophets
we who are really interested, have the opportunity to
Learn to Know.
If you really want to learn what God is planning to do, you'll
need to study what the Most High has already revealed to His
servants the prophets: that is - the Bible Prophets! All
that we need to know is already recorded in their writings!
||7: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.”
There are, however, certain things which the Almighty does
not want us to know. They are secret.
||29: “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Answers to these and many more questions are sought every
day by millions of people all over the earth. When asked,
we attempt to answer these questions, but comparatively
few accept our explanations. And all the while the Almighty
- What is the Almighty and His Son doing right now?
- Why do they not reveal themselves?
- Why do they not put an end to human suffering?
- Why do they not exert their authority and wipe out war?
- Why do they take so long to carry out their plans?
Why the delay?
- Why hasn’t Yahweh given His people more power
to do the myriad things that need to be done here and now?
- Why does God allow His own followers to suffer pain,
sickness, persecution and sometimes even martyrdom?
Why? Why? Why?
The divine reasons are currently secret. There certainly
are answers to these questions, convincing answers: but
right now we don't have them all. But one day we shall
know. The Apostle Paul wrote:
|1 Corinthians 13:
||12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:|
now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.”
That brings us to the end of this sermon Learn to Know.
In your search for knowledge I have spoken of the few
guidelines which through the years have helped me learn
the little I know. I trust that they will help you also.
Let me end by summarizing the points I have brought to
- The Bible is the Word of Yahweh, the Almighty God of
Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Every word is God-breathed
and must be understood with the help of the same
Holy Spirit who inspired it in the first place.
- The Bible was given for doctrine, reproof, correction
and instruction in righteousness, that we might grow to
become like our Father in Heaven.
- We all need the Bible because we are all ignorant
sinners and can not live by bread alone. The Bible is life's
User Guide. It is our spiritual food.
- The Bible should be studied with much prayer: not
with the intention of proving others wrong, but to improve
your own performance.
- The Bible interprets itself: difficult issues in
one passage are plainly explained in others. The Bible never
contradicts itself. It is after all - God’s Word!
- To understand a particular teaching you must
assemble all the texts on that subject before making a
judgement. In this way you will not be side-tracked into error.
- Bible truths often come on two levels: the tangible
low level which we can see and hear: and the abstract
high level which deals with moral concepts and eternal
realities. As a believer living in the end-time you should seek
to learn the high level truths Yahweh has hidden in every story
in His Word.
- For serious Bible study the King James Version
is recommended. It is the real Word of God for the English
-speaking world. Bible Concordances and Dictionaries are more
useful than Bible Commentaries, which usually reflect the
beliefs of individuals or denominations.
- Practice Truth. True understanding is only given
to the righteous. The wicked, by comparison, shall never
- At the moment we do not have all the answers. Many
things are still secret. But one day we shall know as we are known.
This brings me to my final point. The accumulation of knowledge
is, in itself, not enough. You must learn to know Jehovah
and His Son Yeshua the Messiah. You must also learn to obey
God in thought, word and deed. The Bible is simply a spiritual
road map directing you to those two objectives: to know and to
obey the Almighty and His Son. Put differently we may say:
Trust and Obey or
“Fear God and keep His commandments,
is the whole duty of man.”
I'll end this sermon with the words of the Saviour, the Son of the Most High.
||28: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.|
29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
In the Son’s Name — For the Father’s glory.
Elder: Max W. Mader