Once I thought I had a lot of Bible knowledge! I thought I knew a lot of things others didn’t know and displayed my book collection in our living room. I have at least 10 different bibles, commentaries and fancy study bibles, including a Dake’s Bible which is at least 10 inches thick. I bought it for $65 and I read it only twice. I have pretty much all translations except Eugene Peterson’s The Message. Out of these 10, the only one I read quite a bit was a tiny, ordinary NIV Bible. I still felt it was worth owning all these bibles and though I didn’t read them I displayed it proudly.
I have never read a bible cover to cover in my life. My wife, who never claimed she had a lot of bible knowledge, knows a lot of Old Testament than me. I have read only Genesis, Psalms and some Proverbs from OT and anything else I know about OT is either from my wife or from other preachers/teachers/authors. I just don’t have the patience to read through something which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. The reason I like Genesis is that it talks about the origin of everything – humans, animals, earth, sun, stars, languages, marriage, sex, family, good and bad, genders, sin, death, cloths.
Psalms is easy to read and Proverbs is philosophical.
To me, New Testament is the interpretation of Old Testament. If there wasn’t any NT, where Jesus interpreted a lot of OT for what it truly means, I wouldn’t have had a clue. One example would be the purpose of the law. It’s hard for me to understand the purpose of the law by reading OT, but it makes so much sense when we come to NT where it says, the purpose of the law was to accuse us, to point us to Christ.
I have tried evangelism, I mean personal evangelism. I tried to share Gospel with my parents. We did a bible study from the Gospel of John for few months.
I was honest, sincere and very enthusiastic in explaining to them about the love of God. But the problems was, I used love as a commodity and tried to sell it. I tried to share Jesus as though I was trying to sell Him. Shouting between each sentence: ‘Buy It’, ‘Buy It right now’.
In the first step, I used love, then, as I realized that they weren’t buying it, I used ‘fear’. I talked about hell, end times, Antichrist, and I told them the tsunami was a result of god’s anger.
What I wanted to convey was that if they don’t accept what I am saying, expect afflictions in their life. It was okay for me even if that really happened!
Then, when I saw that my product wasn’t selling, I withheld it. I withheld love and showed my dislike on my face and actions. I was so foolish to think if I show my dislike to the fact that they weren’t accepting what I was saying, they would somehow accept it.
If Jesus wanted us to be afraid of Him, he would have come as a dragon, not a mere man.
It took so much time for me to realize it. “Selling” would never work, but Loving will work, eventually.
Then I thought if I had the gifts like Benny Hinn I would have used it in their life. I dreamed of them being sick and lying in the bed, I am entering the room, laying my hands on them, Booooomm…. they are instantly healed. Now I can put a victorious smile on my face indicating its better they accept what I am saying.
But it didn’t happen either.
I am learning to love now. I should say God is teaching me to love. I thought I was a matured, knowledgeable, everything-figured-out guy. I wasn’t even close. I forgot about grace, it was grace what saved me, not my smartness.