Except Someone Guide Me
"And Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some one shall guide me? And he besought Philip to come up and sit with him" (Acts 8:30-31).
I am fascinated by the Ethiopian man's desire to understand the scripture. It is my experience that such men and women are rare. Too many are of the conviction that they do not need instruction. Their minds are settled. The one thing they do not want is someone coming along and confusing the issue.
God, in His infinite wisdom, gave to humankind the ability to mentally ponder information, then reach a conclusion. At times and for various reasons, we need someone to come along and ask the question Philip asked of the Ethiopian.
A person may need help to understand scripture because of poor reading skills. We all know the statistics. Our school system is allowing students to graduate without basic reading skills of comprehension. It should be obvious to all that reading is fundamental to understanding. Does this mean a person with poor reading skills cannot understand the scripture? No, they could allow someone to guide them!
A person may need help to understand scripture because of prejudice. Most, if not all, enter a study of the Bible with pre-formed opinions. Parents, teachers, grandparents, and a host of others have influenced our thinking about life in general and religion in particular. Does this mean that someone indoctrinated into a particular religious theology cannot understand the Bible? No, they could allow someone to guide them!
Personal relationships often hinder a person from understanding the scripture. A son or daughter may fear the disapproval of parents, should they accept a different doctrine. A desire for peace and harmony in the home may cause a spouse to remain ignorant of Bible truth. A sibling who craves the companionship of brothers and sisters remains faithful to that bond rather than to Bible truth. All of these, can and do, cause a person to fail in their understanding of the scripture. Does this mean that a person with close personal relationships cannot understand the Bible? No, they could allow someone to guide them!
The great wise man, Solomon, identified those who would take counsel as those who are wise. He also said that those who are right in their own eyes are fools. Hear his words! "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes; But he that is wise hearkeneth unto counsel" (Proverbs 12:15).
The example of the Ethiopian man illustrates one willing to heed wise counsel (Acts 8:35-39). Can the same be said of you? Do you understand what you are reading? Seek out the wise counsel of faithful teachers of God's Word that you may go your way rejoicing.
By Glen Young
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