If you believe the Bible is God's "Instruction Manual" to mankind—meant to show us what to believe and how to live—then you should really study this inspired book just as you would study a textbook, for instance, to learn a language.
Most people in the United States and Canada have some kind of religion. Increasingly, as polls have shown, millions are breaking away from the mainstream churches and are "inventing" their own religion. They adapt bits and pieces of various religious teachings and traditions that seem to fit their needs or desires, and end up with an eclectic mix of ideas.
Americans, especially, are constantly encouraged: "Go to the church of your choice!"
The implied message is that one religion is just as good as another, so your "choice" is valid no matter what that choice might be. So vast numbers of Westerners are now dabbling in eastern religions, or adapting some Muslim beliefs and practices or getting into the "New Age" movement.
IF the Bible is not really inspired by the Creator, and IF there is no real personal God with direct instructions for us, then all this religious "dabbling" might not be a serious problem. But is there a real God who is the Father of all true Christians? Is the Bible the inspired revelation from our Creator to tell mankind its real purpose—and how to attain that great purpose?
If so, we had better quit wandering around aimlessly and had better LISTEN to what the Creator tells us in His inspired Word! The Bible clearly reveals Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and as the "Word" or Spokesman from the beginning—the One through whom the world was created (John 1:1-18). Speaking in the first person, Jesus Christ tells us, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
According to the above statement, you can only come to God through Jesus Christ. And Jesus Himself warned His "would be" followers: "But WHY do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).
"But," many exclaim, "I am all mixed up! With all the religious confusion out there, I don't know what to say or what to believe about God. But, yes, I do believe the Bible was inspired by God."
That is at least a good starting point. If you believe the Bible is God's "Instruction Manual" to mankind—meant to show us what to believe and how to live—then you should really study this inspired book just as you would study a textbook, for instance, to learn a language. You should read and study through the entire Bible, chapter by chapter, just as you would a college history text that you needed to understand in order to pass a final exam. To help your study, why not also purchase an exhaustive concordance, and carefully go through the Bible, subject by subject, as you might with a medical textbook?
And you should honestly SEEK God and His Truth with all your heart! Many people profess an "interest" in God, but they just drift through life without ever truly "seeking" Him and without ever really PROVING to themselves that He exists—that the Bible is His inspired Word and that they need to DO what God's inspired Word tells them to do. Yet these are absolutely the MOST IMPORTANT matters in life!
God tells us of the time in the "latter days" when our peoples will have been in a great national captivity, and will finally repent in their humbled condition: "But from there you will SEEK the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you SEEK Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice…" (Deuteronomy 4:29-30).
Are you willing to begin to genuinely "seek" God before this coming Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22) falls on our people? Are you willing to put forth the physical and intellectual energy to really STUDY God's Word in a systematic way, to PRAY to your Creator for real understanding and to FAST before God—even as the Apostle Paul did when he was being "shaken" out of his former way of life? (Acts 9:9).
In his very informative and helpful autobiography, Herbert W. Armstrong described an excellent approach to fasting which will be of great value to anyone who will use it:
"There was no more time to lose. I had to find the answer. I knew of only one way. Fasting and prayer! It was the last-ditch resort. I didn't know how one ought to fast and pray—I had never done it before. But when Jesus' disciples were unable to cast out a demon, Jesus said such a result came only by fasting and prayer. So I began to fast.
The fasting was begun on a Sabbath morning. That morning I ate no breakfast. Not knowing how one ought to go about fasting and prayer, I first prayed and asked God to show me the way—to open my understanding. Then, since God speaks to us through His written Word, I began to search the Bible for instruction about fasting. For one hour with the aid of a concordance I studied passages of Scripture on the subject of fasting and praying, much of the time on my knees.
Then for one hour I sat in thought and contemplation. I turned over in my mind the scriptures I had read. I reflected on my own life in recent months. I tried to compare it with God's way, as revealed in the Scriptures. Then I spent the next hour in talking to God—in prayer.
And so I decided to continue in this order—one hour in Scripture study, one in contemplation, and one in prayer. I did not once ask God to heal my wife—as yet. I had been doing that for weeks, without result. I was fasting and praying, not for the purpose of bringing pressure on God to force Him to obey my will and give what was asked—but to find out what was wrong with me! I realized we did not need to nag at God. NEVER fast as a means of inducing God to answer!" (Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Volume II, pp. 391-392)
Frankly, every single one of us needs to go through a similar process of honestly "seeking" God and His will for our lives. If we truly want to have a significant position of service in Christ's soon-coming Kingdom, we should start NOW to do our part to "seek" God, to come to really "know" God and to do His will.
We must all listen carefully to Jesus' powerful warning to those who, by preaching in Christ's name and performing their "do good" activities, think they are serving God—while refusing to obey God's Law: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I NEVER knew you; depart from Me, you who practice LAWLESSNESS!'" (Matthew 7:21-23).
God grant that many of you will stop "wandering" through life, and that you will SEEK God and His will with ZEAL and with ENERGY. If you are not yet enrolled, be sure to call us or write us and request your FREE enrollment in the Tomorrow's World Bible Study Course right now. IF you will really study this course along with your Bible—and remain on this course of study—it will be a tremendous tool to help you understand the END-time prophecies of the Bible, the great PLAN God is working down here on earth and the WAY by which you may enter eternal life and the Kingdom of God.