Psa 119:105-111 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (106) I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules. (107) I am severely afflicted; give me life, O LORD, according to your word! (108) Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O LORD, and teach me your rules. (109) I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law. (110) The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts. (111) Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.
A consistent tactic of the enemy of our souls is to try to destroy God’s Word and in particular do all that he can to keep the light of Scripture from us. It was so from the beginning when the serpent maligned God’s Word and it was true in the medieval times when the Roman church in the spirit of antichrist energetically used threats and even burning at the stake to suppress the light of Scripture.
Listen to the great church historian Merle d’Aubigne tell us about all this as he recounts the life and work of “the morning star of the reformation,” John Wycliffe:
It was then a maxim that the reading of the Bible was injurious to the laity; and accordingly the priests forbade it…Oral traditions alone mingled the legends of the saints with Holy Scripture.
Wycliffe labored between ten and fifteen years translating the Scriptures from the Latin Vulgate and at last, sometime between 1380 and 1384, the work was completed. The reception of the work surpassed all expectations. The Holy Scriptures exercised a reviving influence over men’s hearts; minds were enlightened; souls were converted; the voices of the ‘poor priests’ had done little in comparison; something new had entered the world….You could not meet two persons on the highway, but one of them was Wycliffe’s disciple.
Yet, all in England did not equally rejoice; the lower clergy opposed this enthusiasm with complaints and maledictions. ‘Master John Wycliffe, by translating the gospel into English,’ said the monks, ‘has rendered it more acceptable and more intelligible to laymen and even to women, than it has hitherto been to learned and intelligent clerks! [ie, sarcasm]…The gospel pearl is everywhere cast out and trodden under foot of swine.’
Now, wherever Wycliffe went he was violently attacked. ‘It is heresy,” cried the monks, ‘to speak of Holy Scripture in English….Learn to believe in the church rather than in the gospel.’ But Wycliffe persevered. He said, ‘Since the year of our Lord 1000, all the doctors [ie, church theologians] have been in error about the sacrament of the altar [the Lord’s table, perverted into the Roman mass]. How can you, O priest, who are but a man, make thy Maker? [doctrine of transubstantiation claimed the priest’s words transformed the bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ]. What! The thing that grows in the fields – that ear which you pluck today, shall be God tomorrow! As you cannot make the works which He made, how shall you make Him who made the works! Woe to the adulterous generation that believes the testimony of Pope Innocent rather than the Gospel,”
Now, there is nothing new under the sun. What Satan has done before he is doing now. He works and works to not only twist Scripture, but to keep it out of the hands of God’s people. In our day, church leaders can often embrace this same kind of spirit when, in arrogance, they deny in practice the priesthood of all believers. They set themselves up as the only reliable interpreters of Scripture and insist that the people of God submit to those interpretations. This is what we see all the time when church leaders use the Bible as a club to keep victims of domestic abuse or some other evil, in line. They put themselves forward as a kind of priesthood that alone possesses the ability to interpret the Bible.
This is one primary reason I have come to the point of being extremely wary of church denominations and such groups – even the “para-church” celebrity outfits like Focus on the Family and so on. They almost inevitably set themselves up as the only ones able to properly understand the Bible and then they lay their distortions upon the people, just like the false teachers did among the Galatians.
YOU, Christian, are indwelt by the Spirit of God and you have the ability therefore to read, hear, and understand God’s Word. So don’t be lazy or careless. Delve into Scripture yourself and look to teachers as a help, but not as a final authority.
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God’s Word will transform your life.