I grew up with a Catholic background. We went to church every Sunday but we didn’t have to work and I never really got too much from it. I went through many of the catechisms and ceremonies that are traditional in the Catholic church and never really understood much of the meaning of any of them.
At the age of 15, I met a young lady whose father was a Baptist minister. They started witnessing to me, questioning me about what the Catholic Church believed and why we believed it. I had always believed in God, believed in Jesus and that he died for the sins of the world, but I never really made that promise my own.
My wife and I were married in January of 2000 and by the end of 2005/beginning of 2006 we had three children. Our youngest was born in October of 2005. In May of 2005, we both realized that we had never truly made a profession of salvation by grace through faith. But we had both been in a church all of our lives and had a head knowledge; we just never had obtained a heart knowledge. The first Wednesday in May, 2006 my wife received Christ as her personal savior.
All the time, the Holy Spirit was calling me to be saved and I didn’t know it. I was in torment because I didn’t have peace about my faith. The following Friday night I bowed my head and heart and asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord and personal Savior and thank him for being that for me.
I did not repeat any specific type of prayer but accepted him and believe in him the best way that I knew how at the time, and he saved me!
In the fall of 2017 God started dealing with me about being a preacher or just going to Bible college. I argued with him and said that it was just something that I wanted to do and not what he wanted me to do. By the time the January, 2018 came around, I could not get away from the call to preach, and announced my call publicly at a big event at our church in March, 2018. I’m now currently enrolled in Bible college at my church and preaching from time to time and have never looked back nor regretted any decision I have ever made for the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Jerry is a whip maker from North Carolina)
The Bible isn’t always easy to understand but like anything, it gets easier with practice.
By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross
Ever misunderstood something and felt pretty dumb about it afterward?
Sometimes it’s easy to misunderstand something in the Bible and I think that keeps many of us from reading it.
Seminaries teach pastors Greek and Hebrew to help them understand what you’re sitting there scratching your head to understand as you open up the Bible. I know many who decide they are going to read the Bible cover to cover and dig right in. Genesis goes okay until Chapter 5 when you hit the ‘begats’–a long list of genealogy that can be a quitting point for someone already struggling to understand what they’ve been reading.
There are more parts that ARE easier to understand than others and just like the awkwardness of learning to handle yourself in the bucking chutes or the first time you try to turn a rope over your head, it gets easier. We approach the Bible like any other book from a western to a text book, thinking we have to read it from front to back, chapter by chapter. That isn’t the case at all. While there is a very specific structure to the Bible, sometimes a great starting point is all the way up in the New Testament with the Book of John. Many recommend that as an easier start and a way to learn about Jesus and the plan of Salvation. I often point people to James as it is written in a very straightforward manner.
It gets easier with time and practice, just like any of the sports you compete with or how each branding can run smoother for you than the last.
Having a church helps where there are pastors and leaders that can help you understand it. I sometimes need that before I try to deliver a cowboy church sermon behind the chutes and am fortunate enough to have more than a dozen people I know that understand it better than me that I can run a section of scripture by to be sure I understand it right.
Context is very important. You may randomly point to a verse and read it but without knowing what happened in the verses ahead, and sometimes the books ahead of it, it is very easy to misunderstand it. But again, in time, as you learn more and more, the context is easier to follow and you will be amazed at how much deeper your faith becomes when you see for yourself just how well books of the Bible do fit together despite being written by authors hundreds of years apart. You see on the pages just how real God’s word is to us and why 2 Timothy refers to it as God-breathed (living word).
There are also great study bibles out there with notes that help explain it. Don’t get hung up on feeling dumb for not understanding something. Be encouraged by the work God and the Holy Spirit will do inside you through the parts you do understand and step by step, more and more of it will make sense. Step by step, you will see even more, just how big God really is as you see how the scriptures you just read are played out right in front of you. See what you can learn about the importance of reading your Bible from the two verses below and what else each section is teaching us. There’s a lot in just these two verses. Find at least five facts and truths you can understand from what Paul is saying in this letter to Timothy. The word “righteousness” is an important one that comes up again throughout scripture. Take some time to look up what it means through your Bible’s study notes or the concordance (at the back that helps you find other verses where the same word appears). This is a great way to help you get started understanding your Bible. It isn’t how much you read in a single sitting, it’s just taking your time to understand it piece by piece.
And before you start, pray—ask God for the wisdom to understand.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good