The Trouble With Not Knowing
The Sadducees said there is no resurrection. They tried to trap Jesus with the following question: "Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her." (Matthew 22:24-28)
Jesus answered their question by saying. "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Matthew 22:29-32) Those critics of Jesus missed two important points: (1) The Scriptures, and (2) The power of God. Their senseless questions would never have been asked if they had known the Scriptures. How many times have we found ourselves embarrassed in a religious discussion because of not knowing the Scriptures? Often people make foolish statements concerning God or spiritual things because of a lack of faith in God or a lack of knowledge of the scriptures.
Not knowing the Scriptures has led to a rejection of the Bible as God's word. The words of the Bible are God's words given by the Holy Spirit. "These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual." (1 Corinthians 2:13) Peter said inspired men spoke God's word as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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 Peter 1:20-21) The Bible is God's eternal word.
Not knowing the Scriptures has led to confusion about the church. Jesus promised to build, and did build His one church. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18) The saved are added to Christ's church. "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." (Acts 2:47) The gospel of Christ produces the one body or church of Christ. "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling." (Ephesians 4:4) If people knew the scriptures they would be contented to be united in God's one family, the church.
Not knowing the Scriptures has led to denominationalism. Jesus desired and prayed for unity. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." (John 17:20-21) The Bible pictures denominationalism as something bad. "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, 'I am of Paul,' or 'I am of Apollos,' or 'I am of Cephas,' or 'I am of Christ.' Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:10-13) I must contend for the one God, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one hope, and one church!
Not knowing the Scriptures has led people to reject baptism as necessary for salvation. Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16) Denominations teach, "He that believeth is saved and is then baptized to join the church." The Bible teaches that baptism is the final step in becoming a Christian. "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:27)
There is no greater privilege on earth than that of being a Christian. A true Christian is Christ-like in, word, deed, and thought. One major step in being just a Christian is that of knowing the scriptures and the power of God.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA