The acceptance of popular opinions is not a validation or proof of its truthfulness. Time and chances happen to them all. One thing that we must always understand as modern-day Christians is the fact that the truth, before it existed on the pages of books, first existed in the minds of humans.
Before it was written, the truth was a way of life lived by a specific group of people who wanted their descendants or more people to be aware of how they lived in a certain way, even after they had long passed into the world beyond. Their lives were recorded on the pages of books not to confuse the reader’s minds, but to bring clarity of God’s purpose into the minds of future generations who would further live a life that is antithetical to the world system.
Humans after God’s mind have come and gone through the ages and generations; for some, history can recognize and witness their lives, but for others, history has never been so kind. Notwithstanding, precious in the sight of God remain their memories. And, as the Bible says, their work follows them. That is to say that one thing we must never be ignorant of is that our lives are never hidden from God. Things [assumed] to be done in the dark are as clear to God as the dawn of the day. What we do today, the cause we will risk our lives to champion or defend, will one day become the pages of our biography—testimonies for all to read, friends and foes, acquaintances, and strangers. As a result, reading is very important because it contains many pearls of wisdom and understanding for living.
“Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it“. Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV). In the second verse of the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel also, we saw how the understanding of time and season came to Daniel. “In the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books…”
There are many answers that may be hidden on the pages of books that we don’t read. This could be the reason why we may be victims of “destruction for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Christianity is a “religion” of letters (books), and it is therefore expected of modern-day Christians to maintain a positive attitude towards the culture of reading. Hasn’t even the Bible admonished us that this Book of the Law must not depart from us? Joshua 1:8
It is pertinent for us to inquire. Very germane.
Inquiring, we must also be able to determine from whose spirit the letter we are reading is written. Biblical writers adopt the antagonist and protagonist style of narrative for a reason. This is to help us in discerning [differentiating] who says [or does] what. Whose idea is it to love God and our neighbors, and whose is it to hate? Who encourages us to love and serve selflessly, and who wants us to do the opposite? Regardless of how innocent and sincere the opposite appears; it does not change its original source: the self!
We must also never forget to know a little bit of our history as a people. We are a people under God, uniquely called and chosen (I Pet. 2:9). We must always stay conscious of this. However, we have not always been perfect; as a people, we have not always had a perfect history. And this is one reason it is advisable we know (no matter how little), where we are coming from. Unknown history [particularly errors in it] would almost certainly be repeated. This is not to ask us to enroll in a theological seminary but to go out of our way to understand the historical development of [certain] doctrines we may be [unfortunately] holding on to so dearly and why they matter. We need to know how God has moved in the days of our fathers and what He did in their days. The Psalmist says, “We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, the deeds You did in their days, in days of old…” (Ps. 44:1).
Again, we must never forget the labor of those fathers (and mothers) who risked their lives to preserve the sanity and purity of the doctrine and message of our Lord Jesus Christ. They do not love their lives even to the point of death (Revelation 12:11). They deliberately chose a rough path, not seeking that which was convenient. Brothers and sisters, “of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.” (Heb. 11:38).
To some, history was never kind because they stood against glittering but perilous popular opinions, which made them unpopular. Of such was William Tyndale. The man who gave us the English Bible (New Testament). His passion was to teach English men and women the good news of justification by faith. Whom against the word “Charity” employed by the Catholic’s Douay-Rheims and King James versions of the Bible in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 1 (because it favors the doctrine of works over salvation by faith), used the word “Love” instead. So today, you can read 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 1 as, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not “LOVE”, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal”. William Tyndale made that translation [or revelation] possible. Can you imagine the depth of the attribute of God (and meeting each other’s emotional needs) we have known by reading this chapter of the Bible this way?
Tyndale, like other brothers, was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536, but what about the spirit of the doctrine they embodied? They lived on, and we are their witnesses. We must never shy away from this; we must never forget this, because now “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11