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In 1440 when Yahannes Gutenberg invented the Printing Press the world was enamored. By 1600 a press could produce up to 3,600 pages a day. 3,600 pages a day! That is about 7 MB.[1] The world was astonished over 7MB a day! At 3,600 pages per day it would take the printing press 200 years to fill up the space available on my computer (about 263,100,000 pages).

We live in a time in which information is accessible in unsearchable quantities. Right now I am a student at Dallas Theological Seminary. But I have not been to Dallas, Texas since December 2009 (only two weeks at that). How can I do that? Easily, I take classes online. I download videos of my professor onto my computer. I can attend class in my office. Better than that, I go to class wherever I want! All of my class sessions for Old Testament Prophets (BE 104) are on my phone. I carry my seminary classes in my pocket. I have 47 videos that make up 10.8 hours of class (2.29 GB). If I wanted, I could have about 7 seminary classes on my phone at any given moment (I would have to erase Elmo, however). I can watch the videos and go to school anytime. Although, I have found taking class notes on a mini-bus to be a real challenge.

We don’t think twice about information. Information is no longer a tool for emancipation it is a form of entertainment. It is what we do when we are bored. Even the nightly news has become more entertaining than empowering or informing.

What does this do to the global culture? Where is the information boom taking the world? As our wealth of information increases our consideration of it as wealth decreases.  Do we do the same with God’s word?

You want to know something? Do you have a question? Don’t ask your dad, or your mom, or your grandfather. Google it. Who cares what your parents have to say from their 50+ years of experience? Our generation says look it up on the Internet.  Want to know about Jesus? Google “Jesus”. You will get 167,000,000 results in 0.20 seconds. “God”? 380,000,000 results in 0.31 seconds.

But should we approach the Bible that way? Can we go to the Bible and type in ‘God’? No. The Bible is not the Internet. The Bible requires the enlightening power of the Holy Spirit.

Word searching is far from the manner in which God expects, and the Bible demands, we read and study the Word. Many people want to use their Bibles the way they use the Internet. They open their Bible and expect to find 100,000,000 results for the search “good feelings” in 0.41 seconds. And when it does not happen instantaneously many Christians are sorely disappointed, frustrated, and finished with God and His Word – a sad side effect of the information boom.

The Bible cannot be spiritually discerned apart from the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:6-16). People often think that the Holy Spirit should reveal all the depths of the Word of God in 0.41 seconds. “Why,” many wonder, “does it take so long for me to understand the Bible?” There may be several answers depending on the person asking. But for one, the Bible comes to us (spiritual beings) from God (the supreme spiritual being) and is discerned by the Holy Spirit. That said, we are at the mercy of the Spirit, who is from God, to enlighten to us the spiritual truths of the Bible. So while Google may boast in its speedy search results, Christians should boast in transcendent understanding of spiritual things (Google cannot offer this).  We are dependant upon the Holy Spirit for discernment of the scriptures.

You may think, “how boring and slow is that?” You might think, “I need revelation, knowledge, and answers NOW!” But you must understand what Paul said about the content of the Bible, it is words “not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit.” Whether you think this form of approaching the Bible is slow, dull, or archaic is beside the point. The Bible cannot be spiritually discerned without the aide of the Holy Spirit in the time which the Holy Spirit wishes to help. That may be 0.41 seconds. It may be 4.1 years. It will come in his time or it will not come.

Find this discouraging? Frustrating? Many people are saddened when they realize they are powerless to discern the Word of God on their own. This causes many to quit and put their Bibles down. Don’t do that. Understand, when you turn yourself away from understanding spiritual things because you do not understand you confirm the truth of the Bible. Paul said, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14). When  you put the Bible down because you do not understand it you are affirming that you have gone to the Bible as a natural person without the Holy Spirit. Go to the Bible knowing that you need the Holy Spirit to help you and wait for Him to do so.

For His Glory,
Nathan
nathan@ibc.org.hk
www.ibc.org.hk


[1] http://www.sharpened.net/helpcenter/answer.php?131