Devotion: A Humble Heart Can Trust the Scriptures

I Cor. 2:12-16

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

I don’t tend to spend a lot of time on social media because I find it too much of a downer. But I do have two social media pages I visit once daily. Today, one of the fellow believers I follow posted a meme referencing an alleged R.C. Sproul quote. I say ‘alleged’ only because I cannot prove Sproul actually said it.

At any rate, here is the quote:

“You don’t have to give up your intellect to trust the Bible. You have to give up your pride.”

I read it and was immediately reminded about what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2. In verses 12-16, he reminds us that the natural mind cannot understand the things of the LORD. This includes the Word of God. Notice what Paul says inverse 14 particularly. Here is my summary:

A person whose mind is not attuned to the Holy Spirit cannot discern the meaning behind what God writes in his Word. He can’t understand the Bible because the Bible can only be understood through the inspiration of the Spirit. What does this mean practically?

It means that the Spirit must be actively working in and with us as we study, or we won’t understand what we are reading. Unfortunately, one of the big issues that gets in the way is pride.

Nobody Knows It All

Pride manifests itself in the human heart in multiple ways. A man whose pride can be seen externally is easy to spot. He is the type of man who thinks he is God’s gift to creation. He can read the Bible all day long and not understand a word of it.

On the other hand, there is a more subtle pride issue that prevents people from understanding Scripture. It manifests itself in the belief that “I already understand that passage of the Bible.” This sort of pride is subtle in that many of us are guilty of it without even knowing.

We get to a passage of Scripture we have read a hundred times before. We have preconceived notions about what it means. So rather than starting over and looking with a fresh set of eyes, we quickly blow through and move on to the next passage.

Pride Keeps Us From Truth

Getting back to the Sproul quote, we have another issue as a result of pride: we choose to dismiss those parts of Scripture that don’t appeal to us. Take repentance. How often do we hear pastors and teachers instruct their congregations on repentance? It’s not very often. Why? Because people are uncomfortable with the idea of genuine repentance. They don’t want to do it.

Their pride prevents them from repenting. Ergo, they have trouble accepting anything in Scripture that speaks of repentance. They have trouble trusting the truth that repentance manifests itself in a changed life.

If Sproul did actually say what has been attributed to him, he is spot on. The only thing one needs to understand scripture is a humble heart that the Holy Spirit can fill with wisdom. Scriptural understanding isn’t learned in a classroom or from a textbook. It is a work of the Lord.

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Posted on: June 20, 2024