Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 22, 1960
NUMBER 20, PAGE 6,11b

The Bible In Devotional Life

Geo, W. Tyler, San Diego, Calif.

"And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not with meat; for ye were not yet able to bear it: nay, not even now are ye able; for ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you jealousy and strife, are ye not carnal, do ye not walk after the manner of men? For when one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not men?" (1 Cor. 3:1-5)

In this passage Paul adapts his teaching to the spiritual condition of the Corinthian brethren calling them "carnal," "babes in Christ" stating that they were such as still had need of "milk" and not "meat." During the five or six years of his absence from them they had not grown one whit and were still spiritual runts. The spirit of partyism was running rampant among them; hence, Paul calls them "carnal" which means "having the nature of flesh" — self-pleasing which is the very essence of sectarianism. The natural, "carnal," unspiritual man, "receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged." (1 Cor. 2:14)

To the Hebrew brethren Paul wrote, "For when by reason of time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not solid food. For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness for he is a babe." (Heb. 5:12-14) They had made no spiritual growth or progress; hence, were "babes" who by some have been designated as "spiritual runts." Then in Heb. 6:1-3 Paul writes, "Wherefore leaving the doctrine of the first principles of Christ, let US PRESS ON UNTO PREFECTION; not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the teachings of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment." These things serve as the foundation and are not to be left in the sense that they are to be forsaken. It is the laying of the foundation again and again that Paul condemns. In Phil. 3:14 Paul gives all Christians an example to follow in these words, "I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Again, "Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ." (I Cor. 11:1) Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, calls for constant growth — for advancement from the plain assent to the fundamental gospel truth in Christ Jesus to the full maturity of an attested life in Him. What really earnest believer does not desire to seek the Divine way of growth that leads to PERFECTION? Christianity is not a static thing. It is built on faith, a positive, forward looking faith, a faith that motivates people, a dynamic. faith. Bible — built believers move from "faith unto faith" Rom. 1:17, and "of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man." (Eph. 4:13)

To my mind the most dangerous force faced by the church today is not the outside world, but the world inside the church. Low spiritual vitality throws wide open the gates of the soul for entrance of all varieties of soul ills just as low vitality of the physical body makes it subject to all the ills of the human race. Paul traced the carnality of the Corinthian brethren to their neglect of feeding upon the strength giving food of God's revealed word. He told them that they were marked with envy, strife, divisions, walking as men, followers of men rather than being meek and humble followers of Christ and were glorying in men saying, "I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Cephas; and I of Christ." (I Cor. 1:10-13) These were hard words leveled at the early church, I firmly believe that if Paul were to return to earth today to preach and teach he would find himself justified in making like charges against the church of our age.

Paul loved the Corinthian church and was a very faithful counselor of it. He did not leave it under the indictment of carnality, but gave it the remedy by showing it "a more excellent way." One does not have to study First Corinthians long before he discovers the spiritual application of Divine truth. The thirteenth chapter does not stand alone as some think. It must be considered with both the preceding chapters as well as the following ones to get its meaning. He told the church to "desire earnestly the greater gifts. And a most excellent way show I unto thee." (1 Cor. 12:31) In the thirteenth chapter Paul explains that the "most excellent way" is that of love, love for God, love for Christ and love for the brethren. There is but one way to learn about the "excellent way" and that is by the study of God's Word. It makes "the man of God complete, furnished completely unto every good work." (2 Tim. 3:17)

In nine out of ten Christian families the Bible is never opened between Monday morning and the following Saturday night; hence, the children in them receive only about two hours and fifteen minutes of instruction in the Scriptures each week in classes and hear possibly two thirty minute sermons. I hear some of our preachers are shortening their sermons to twenty minutes each. For the kind of preaching they do even these are too long. These piece-meal studies are better than none at all though they accomplish but little good. The remainder of the week the Devil is at work undermining what little Bible instruction the children have received. Few would dare feed their physical bodies like they feed their spiritual bodies. To have sound physical bodies that resist disease we feed them with a well ordered diet. Why feel that one can do less for his soul? Daily reading of the Bible in the home and prayer are necessary for healthful spiritual growth.

With God's Book before us, with His Spirit within us and with God's servant desirous of receiving, the really earnest believer is well prepared to be fed with that food which prepares the soul for its presence in the promised lands. David gave three big reasons for Bible study, "Thy word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Ps. 119:11) Again, "The opening of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." (Ps. 119:130) In 2 Tim. 3:16, 17 Paul gives some very important reasons for being well informed in the Word of God which he says, "Is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete (which means he lacks nothing G.W.T.), furnished completely unto every good work." In 2 Tim, 2:15 (A. V.) Paul gives us the crowning reason for not neglecting the study of the Bible, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed." Brethren, do not neglect daily Bible study and prayers, devotions, in your homes. Duty to your household and your Heavenly Father demands it. The salvation of your souls and those of your children depends upon your diligence in the study of God's Word and your obedience to it. Solomon wrote, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Prov. 22:6)