"He mined religious truth, not from books of human fabrication, but from God's Word."
I've observed a pattern in our modern day culture among Christians. I've observed it in myself, along with believers who I hold in the highest regard: We tend to look to human resources at our disposal when searching out a spiritual matter, instead of going first to God alone.
We have our teachers and preachers that we respect and resonate with. We read their books, listen to their sermons and adopt their view of Scripture when it sounds 'right'.
And although it is true we are to edify and encourage and disciple each other, training up the children, the wise sharing their wisdom - there is still a better way for those seeking maturity in God. The Way, the Truth and the Life is Jesus, and He will always be the number one source for His people. If we let human thought be our guide, we are already off the narrow path.
Ironically, this understanding was clarified to me as I read a book - a biography about George Muller.1 Often called the "man of faith", Mr. Muller, who was born in Prussia in 1805, became famous by caring for two thousand orphans by faith alone (never asking anyone but His heavenly Father to provide for them).
However, early on in his Christian walk, as a young man, he fell into the same habit that many Christians today do: reading books about the Bible, instead of the Bible itself. This keeps a believer immature in Christ.
"A common error George succumbed to as a divinity student was reading books about the Bible instead of reading the Bible itself. George admitted, 'I practically preferred for the first four years of my Christian life the works of uninspired men. The consequence was that I remained a babe, both in knowledge and grace.'" (p.21)
Early in his life, he found himself sick and isolated with the Bible alone as company.
[George Muller] realized... that he had learned an invaluable lesson about the Bible. For the Bible became, ... the true source of his inspiration, and the one book to which he was solely devoted. "God began to show me that His Word alone is our standard of judgment; that it can be explained only by the Holy Spirit; and that in our day, as well as in former times, He is the teacher of the people."
|George Muller 1805-1898|
Near the end of his life he said he had read the Bible through approximately two hundred times, one hundred of them on his knees. He found God's promises in the Bible and experienced the truth of them in daily life. He learned to believe what he read and to act accordingly. He mined religious truth, not from books of human fabrication, but from God's Word - and what George read, he lived. (pgs. 24-25)
1 George Muller, Man of Faith by Bonnie Harvey, 1998, by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Uhrichsville, Ohio.
Also: The Autobiography of George Muller, edited by Diana L. Matisko, by Whitaker House, 1984, Springdale, Pennsylvania.