Today, let us begin analyzing another related principle of Bible interpretation: The Bible is understood by spiritual receptivity as much as by intellectual effort and scholarship.
I believe that we must strive to reach a balance regarding this important principle. We must have minds and hearts that are willing to receive what the Bible teaches, and we must exercise intellectual effort. I believe it takes both to fully understand God's wonderful word.
Those with an improper attitude toward the Bible (i.e., those who are not spiritually receptive) will not understand God's word properly. This principle explains why many who are well-educated (by worldly standards) have not learned the truth. And, it also explains why many who are poorly educated (by worldly standards) have learned the truth and obeyed it. I am certainly not against scholarship or higher education, but I firmly believe that one's attitude toward the Scriptures is just as important as the intellectual effort he puts forth while studying the Bible. Those who aren't willing to accept the word of God with a proper spiritual attitude will corrupt their ability to interpret the Bible properly--no matter how intelligent they are by worldly standards.
Proverbs 1:7 states - "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Where does knowledge begin? With a proper attitude toward the Lord--namely, an attitude of deep reverence and humility. A superior intellect is not a requirement to learn God's truth and become wise.
But, how can we develop a proper spiritual attitude? I would suggest:
We will continue this study tomorrow on the importance of being spiritually receptive to God's word. Without a good attitude toward the Bible, one will not interpret it properly.