by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam
As we examine the Bible one fact stands out with particular emphasis and clarity: The Bible was written for the people, for the populace at large, not for some special class among them.
St. Paul addressed his epistles to both “laity” and “clergy”: “To all that be in Rome” (Rom. 12), “unto the church… at Corinth… with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Cor. 1:2), “unto the churches of Galatia” (Gal. 1:2), “to all the saints… at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (Phil. 1:1), etc.
When Paul proclaimed the gospel at Berea his hearers did not take even this great apostle’s word for granted, but “searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so,” and for this God called them “noble” (Acts 17:11). They were the true spiritual aristocracy of their day. Our Lord, when on earth, encouraged — even challenged His audiences to “search the Scriptures” for themselves (John 5:39).
Indeed, since God has revealed Himself and His plan of salvation in the written Word, we are responsible, each one for himself, to study the Scriptures. When Dives begged Abraham to allow Lazarus to go and warn his five brothers about the horrors of Hades, Abraham replied: “They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them,” and when Dives urged that a word from Lazarus would be more effective, Abraham answered: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:29-31).
Do not depend upon your clergyman to interpret the Scriptures for you but see for yourself what they say, for “every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12), and it will not be enough in that day to say: “But my minister or priest told me…” You are responsible to “search the Scriptures” for yourself to “see whether those things are so.”