Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of October 15, 2006

Isaiah 34:16 Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read.
Psalm 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light.

One preacher that I enjoyed listening to when I was younger always made me wonder why I hadn’t seen some of the points he was making on my own. His preaching was simple and informative. One day he told us that he had been reading his Bible through every six months for over 30 years. Then I understood why his preaching made sense. He knew the Bible in its context and he was able to use the Bible to explain the Bible.

Today we are getting all kinds of messages about what the Bible says. The only way we can sort these messages out is by reading the Bible. It takes time and prayer and there is no short cut. Some people ask me, “What Bible should I read?” I tell them there is only one Bible but many translations of the original languages used to write the Bible. Normally, I encourage them to read whatever version they are used to as most are quite clear on the basic doctrines. I certainly have my preferences and I know that some translations are simply not reliable. However, I try to help people find a translation that they can understand, and I encourage them to read it, rather than getting technical about what is wrong with the translation they are reading. I figure that if God can use what I say about the Bible, and what I say is certainly not divinely inspired, then perhaps he can use a translation that is not perfect either. We need to encourage and not discourage regular systematic reading of the Bible.

When I do personal evangelism, I used to try to figure out if I was talking to a saved or unsaved person and then I tried to tailor my discussion to what I thought I discerned. If I was talking to an unsaved person, I tried to give them a clear presentation of the Gospel. While I still do that if I can, today I spend more and more of my time trying to convince people to read their Bibles. If they are saved, they will be blessed, and if they are unsaved the Bible will convict them of that. I try to convince people to read passages that will be helpful. I often ask them to read:
1. Isaiah 53. It tells of the Lord’s sacrifice for our sins 700 years before it happened. I don’t usually defend the Bible any more, I present it and let God defend His own Word. But usually little defense is needed if the reader can see that God planned the events at Calvary years before they happened.
2. John 3. It tells us of a must that most of us do not understand when we first hear about it. Ye must be born again. And that message was given to a clean living religious man, not to a man who had lived immorally.
3. Romans 3. It tells us of this terrible thing called sin that has caused us all to be separated from God. But it also tells us that God is just and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus.
4. Ephesians 2. It tells of a people who were dead and are now alive spiritually. It is the testimony of people who are saved. It tells how they once walked and how they were saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. It tells how we are not saved by doing good, but that God wants those who are saved to do good.

The verse that convinces me that this is the right approach in a society where people can read is Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” I try to read the Bible through once a year and that has given me a wealth of information to draw on when I preach. It has also slowly but surely clarified my thinking on many topics that seem to be controversial today. It has changed my mind on some things that I thought I knew, and it has given me convictions where I didn’t have them before. Reading the Bible continually reassures me that I am saved. There is no substitute for getting light or understanding from the reading of the Word of God.

Bruce Collins

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>