Study the Scriptures Carefully
In the previous chapter, It is a Matter of Interpretation, we saw that the Bible is not difficult to understand when politics and personal agendas are put aside. Although there are many reasons why people have difficulty understanding the Bible, another big reason is people are not careful and thorough in their study of the Bible. They do not carefully look at all of the facts.
I cannot overemphasize the necessity of thinking issues through to their logical conclusion. Most Christians have only partially researched their beliefs. They get to step 10 of a 30-step process and think that they have researched the subject sufficiently. There are a couple reasons for this. First, Christians are often too busy (or too lazy) to spend a great deal of time studying the Bible. Second, Christians do not see the necessity of carefully thinking issues all the way through. They feel it is a waste of time to research something in-depth if it makes sense on the surface.
Our perception of fire is a good example of how people don’t think an issue through. Some would say, "It is obvious to even the casual observer that fire is hot. The facts are indisputable and it would be a waste of time to research this issue any further." Unfortunately, this observation is wrong. While it is true that most fires are "hot," you cannot say that fire is innately hot.
Although there is a more complicated definition of fire, it can be quickly defined as a rapid state of oxygenation. (Say What!) Let me try to explain. We usually think of oxidation as something simple like iron bonding with oxygen and forming what we call rust. When oxygen bonds with an element, it usually gives off a certain amount of heat. (On rare occasions it will absorb heat.) Since rusting is a slow process, there is no accumulation of heat.
There are other substances, such as wood and oil, that also react with oxygen. These substances usually have little or no reaction with oxygen until they reach a certain temperature. Once they reach this temperature, they go into a rapid state of oxidation. This process usually produces a certain amount of heat and light. Whenever heat is generated, the heat is quickly dissipated to the surrounding air. When a reaction produces more heat than can be dissipated, there is a buildup of heat. If the buildup is substantial, the area appears "hot."
There are some items (such as certain types of alcohols) that can maintain a burn at lower temperatures. It takes a higher temperature (such as a spark) to get the process started, but once the rapid oxidation starts, it doesn’t need a high temperature to keep it going. Since the rate of oxidation is slow, it usually doesn’t have a significant buildup of heat. This is one of the several reasons stunt men in movies can be covered with fire and not be burned.
The point I’m trying to make is this: Under normal circumstances your misperception of fire would not cause you any problems. However, your perceptions are not consistent with the other laws of physics, and it could cause you problems if you were involved in certain types of engineering.
I think it would be safe to say that most, if not all of us, have certain doctrinal beliefs that are inconsistent with the rest of the Bible. It is not that we are intentionally trying to contradict the Bible, it is just that we hadn’t seen the contradiction because we hadn’t studied the doctrine carefully enough.
Although it is not important for you to be well versed in the field of science, it is important for you to carefully study the Bible. The Bible is God’s love letter to you and it can provide you a great deal of help. More important, however, the eternal destiny of many people may be affected by how thorough you are in your study.
I’m going to provide you another example to show you how easy it is to come to the wrong conclusion. I’m going to present some facts to you and then draw a conclusion. There is a flaw in the conclusion I have drawn, and I want you to try to find it.
The definition of a calorie is the energy needed to raise one gram of water 1 degree Celsius. Since your body tries to maintain a temperature of 37OC, eating something cold would cause your body to "burn calories" in order to raise that substance up to your regular body temperature. For example, if you were to eat a bowl of ice cream (100 grams), your body would use up to 5500*1 calories to raise the temperature of the ice cream from -18OC to 37OC. Since 100 grams of your typical ice cream only has 239 Calories, it stands to reason that you should lose some weight. In fact, the more ice cream you eat, the more weight you should lose.
Obviously, we know this is not true, but do you know why? There are actually two "calories" being used in this illustration. There is the basic calorie (with a small "c") and the large Calorie (with a capital "C"). The large Calorie (also known as a kilocalorie) is 1000 times larger than the basic calorie. The nutritional charts for packaged food uses the large Calorie. Therefore, the 239 Calories in a bowl of ice cream is actually 239,000 basic calories. So, for every calorie your body uses to heat the ice cream to your body temperature, you have 43 more waiting to go to your thighs.
The point I want to make with this presentation is we need to be careful in our study of the Bible. Don’t just assume that something is correct because it seems to make sense on the surface. Regardless of how much sense it makes, you should still think the issue all the way through. This is especially important on critical issues. It is possible that someone’s eternal destiny depends on this.
Footnote*1 The difference between –18OC to 37OC is 55 OC. It will, therefore, take about 55 calories to raise one gram of ice cream (which is mostly water) to the person’s body temperature. If you have 100g of ice cream, you will need 5,500 calories (55 x 100).
Other Chapters in this Section
Copyright © 1987 -2004 Michael Bronson | Site Design by Imagination 2 Reality