Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
My Developing Spiritual Understandings: by Russ Miles © 2004~05
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Having asked God ~ in the Name of His son, Jesus ~ for wisdom and insight, I begin the work of resolving some of my own theological conflicts. I feel, my developing spiritual understandings, some of God’s knowledge ~ that He has graciously shared with me ~ may be of interest to some others who seek to remove the denominational barriers dividing many of us. With utmost humility, some trepidation, and limited formal education, I embark, accepting this self~assigned task.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
First of all, I profess to be a Christian. Therefore, whenever possible, I will use The Bible, God’s inspired written Word to mankind, as the authority for my reasoning’s. Is this the only “Inspired” Word of God? Probably not, but it is the most widely available, generally accepted, compilation of His reflections to mankind through these particular chosen authors. The Bible is a great place to start.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
While this is, perhaps ~ the most well known ~ certainly the most memorized, scripture today ~ as taken from the New King James Version translation ~ I feel other translations offer rich insights into many disputable, and more difficult for me to understand, truths of God’s Word. For example:
(CEV) John 3:16 God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.
(TEV) John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.
I am not married to, nor confined by, any one single translation. Thousands of dedicated scholars have had the inspiration, and diligence to complete these works. Although there are many more, the ones I will attempt to stick to in this study are:
New King James Version
New American Standard Bible
King James Version
Revised Standard Version
Modern King James Version (Green’s Translation)
Literal Translation Version (Green)
American Standard Version
John Darby’s New Translation
Weymouth New Testament Translation
Young’s Literal Translation
Contemporary English Version
Today’s English Version
Reina Valera 1960
International Standard Version
I only pray that I do not do with God’s sacred Word what the Apostle Peter said others have done in interpreting the Apostle Paul’s writings.
(TEV) 2 Peter 3:16
This is what he says in all his letters when he writes on the subject. There are some difficult things in his letters which ignorant and unstable people explain falsely, as they do with other passages of the Scriptures. So they bring on their own destruction
Even by Peter’s and Paul’s time, people had misinterpreted scriptures and written statements to justify their own positions about what they wanted to explain God was saying. Now that we have had another 2,000 years and major language changes, we can even more easily do this, either accidentally, or even on purpose.
NKJV 2 Peter 3:17
You therefore, beloved, since you know [this] beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate.
But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.
Do all you can to go in by the narrow door! A lot of people will try to get in, but will not be able to.
What cautions! So, I warn you, do not take everything that I say as direct from God ~ but rather see my words as the soulful meditations of a much loved ~ seeking the truth ~ happily forgiven ~ man. Look up the scriptures for yourself. Pray for Almighty God to lead you to the truth and reveal the errors in my understandings and thinking.
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have already attained.
1 Peter 4:11
If any one preaches, let it be as uttering God’s truth; if any one renders a service to others, let it be in the strength which God supplies; so that in everything glory may be given to God in the name of Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the might to the Ages of the Ages. Amen.
Of significance ~ regarding the scriptures:
(TEV)2 Timothy 3:16 & 17
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed.”
Perhaps, I must set aside ~ for the moment ~ some of the doctrines I had accepted as fundamental, as a result of the training and instruction that I have had to date. I know it will be difficult for we want to believe that what we have learned from our personal knowledge quests, pulpits, or Bible studies ~ is right. Some of the things I am suggesting here are in conflict with many of the traditional Christian foundations and other widely accepted church beliefs.
Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace.
Again, I am cautioned:
(CEV) James 3:1 My friends, we should not all try to become teachers. In fact, teachers will be judged more strictly than others.
Let me just say here that I am but an ardent, anxious student who wants to stay in the mouth of God, while heeding the warnings.
Thus, because, lukewarm, thou art, and neither hot nor cold, I am about to vomit thee out of my mouth.
I have, in my life, run both hot and cold. Yes, I have been lukewarm too. I can tell you, hot is better! It is a lot more satisfying.
Okay, I am ready for some meat. Let’s ask some questions: “Exalt Jehovah our God?”
” Look, [in] this you are not righteous. I will answer you, For God is greater than man.
” Behold, God is exalted by His power; Who teaches like Him?
God [is] a just judge, And God is angry [with the wicked] every day.
1 John 4:8
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
I correct and punish everyone I love. So make up your minds to turn away from your sins.
1 John 4:16
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
Exalt Jehovah our God, and worship at his footstool. He is holy!
How can I worship this God?”
God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.
[ Please see Developing Spiritual Understanding ~Part 2]