“Why do ye not understand my speech?”-
“How readest thou?”-
“But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”-
It is a fact that the Bible is being read by a great many people. It is also a fact that we are all reaching different conclusions in our investigations. Is this the will of God the Father? To illustrate: There is one great central proposition in the Bible, viz: “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Is it the will of God that one should, after reading the divine testimony, conclude that Jesus Christ was John the Baptist, and yet another that He was Jeremiah, or one of the prophets? I think not. God fully expects every one who has access to the Bible to believe with all the heart that Jesus is the Christ and yet some have read it (the Bible) and claim they have reached a different conclusion.
Paul says: “There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism”(Eph. 4:5) and yet I know people who say they are honest and believe the divine record, and at the same time practice three baptisms-
Many plain passages (see John 3:16; Rev. 22: 17) teach that God, in the gift of his Son and through him the blessed gospel, has made it possible for all men to be saved who will accept and obey, and yet all Calvinists say they cannot see it that way. They think that before the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted over a newly created world, God elected in Christ a certain number of men and angels to eternal life and reprobated the rest to an eternal hell.
Again, I ask why is it that men reading God’s good Book come to a thousand conclusions on the vital questions pertaining to the salvation of man and the divine government of the kingdom of God? Is it true that God has not made His will plain enough in His word? This would be a reflection upon the goodness and mercy of our Heavenly Father.
Jesus says, “Why do ye not understand My speech?” The question is not, do you read the Bible, but “how readest thou?” Have you an honest heart, and do you desire the truth above all things else? I claim that if an honest and intelligent man or woman will lay aside all prejudices and predilections and come to the word of God with full purpose of heart to learn and do the will of God in order to be saved; he will most certainly find it. In speaking of this plain way God says in Isaiah 35:8, “The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”
Here I will insert a few lines of poetry which show the reason why men who read the Bible reach different conclusions. Kind reader, read carefully and see if you are actuated by any such motives:
’Tis one thing now to read the Bible through,
Another thing to learn to read and do;
’Tis one thing now to read it with delight,
And quite another thing to read it right.
Some read it with design to learn to read,
But to the subject pay but little heed;
Some read it as their duty each week,
But from the Bible no instruction seek;
While others read it with uncommon care,
With no regard to how nor where:-
Some read it as a history, to know
How people lived three thousand years ago.
Some read to bring themselves repute
By showing others how they can dispute;
While others read because their neighbors do,
To see how long Twill take to read it through.
Some read it for the wonders that are there-
How David killed a lion and a bear;-
While others read it, or rather in it look,
Because, perhaps, they have no other book.
Some read the blessed Book, they don't know why,
It sometimes happens in the way to lie,
While others read it with uncommon care,
But all to find some contradiction there.
One reads with father's ‘specs' upon his head
And sees the thing just as father did;
Others read it through Calvin or Scott
And think it means exactly what they thought.
Some read to prove a pre-
Thus understand but little what they read;
And every passage in the book they bend
To make it suit that all important end.
Some read as I have often thought,
To teach the book instead of being taught."
The sweet singer of Israel says: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path,” and it will guide the feet of the honest inquirer into the right way, always.
A. J. McCarty, 1920