I love Bible study, and one of the forms of Bible study I enjoy the most is what I call “Scripture sleuthing.”
This is when I search the Scriptures diligently and in-depth to try to locate every verse related to a particular topic or question, usually one that is very controversial, like, “Will people who have heard the Gospel before the Rapture still be able to respond to the Gospel after the Rapture?”
You may not agree with my conclusion, but that’s okay, as long as your conclusion is also based on the Scriptures. The fact of the matter is that it is not possible to find definitive answers in the Bible to all the questions we have. And often the verses we may be able to find about a particular topic can be interpreted in different ways.
1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly. But then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully…” What is this verse talking about? I think it is referring to when we will be standing face to face with Jesus Christ. But then, others may interpret it differently.
One thing is certain. When I do stand face to face with Jesus, I have a long list of Bible questions already prepared that I hope He will provide answers to. For example, “Who are the mysterious people living in the flesh who are pictured as dwelling on the New Earth outside the New Jerusalem in the eternal state?” (Rev. 21:24-27 and 22:2).
I also have a lot of questions for the Apostle Paul. Even the Apostle Peter was mystified by some of Paul’s writings (2 Pet. 3:16)!
God’s plan of salvation — grace through faith in His Son Jesus — is clearly spelled out in the Bible. But for understanding beyond that, there are two essentials. One is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a gift each person receives at the moment of salvation. The second essential is what a former colleague of mine, Dennis Pollock, always called “the dirty five-letter word.” It is STUDY.
I once had a person ask me, “Why didn’t God just give us a clear and precise list of all future prophecies in their proper order? And, in like manner, why didn’t He provide us with a 1, 2, 3 type list of how a church is to be organized and governed and how we are to conduct a worship service?”
The best answer to this question I have ever run across is one that I pasted in the front of my Bible many years ago. It was penned by Jimmy Swaggart:
“Strange as it may seem, I believe the latitude within Scripture is a circumstance deliberately set up by God to allow us more scope with which to work out the precise direction our lives are to take within God’s plan. Certainly the Father could have, in His perfection, foreseen the controversy arising from the sometimes less than explicit language of the Bible. He could have written a cold, lifeless manual precisely spelling out every conceivable theological question, along with specific explanation on any particular subject. But He didn’t do this. He left us room to grow, develop, and learn through our need to search the Scripture.”
In short, as we spend time in God’s Word seeking to better understand it, we are drawn into an ever deeper relationship with Him.