I was born again in 2001. Since that time I couldn’t tell you how many books I have read. Being born again brought with it a hunger to study the Bible. I had no idea how to go about it so I went to the library and found a book titled, amazingly enough, “How to study the Bible.” It helped me immensely. It was a very simple and basic overview of the whole Bible with an outline of each book and a very basic overview. It was very remedial but it was a great start.
At some point I found myself studying apologetics. For those that don’t know what that is let me just say it is defined as “the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information.” I read books by Ravi Zacharias, Lee Strobel and C.S. Lewis. The more I read these authors the more I noticed other authors they quoted so I searched out their books too. I read things like Martin Luther’s biography, Dallas Willard’s “The Divine Conspiracy” and R.T. Kendall books. I fell in love with Philip Yancey and bought everyone of his books I could find and devoured them.
It was probably the better part of two or three years that I spent studying apologetics. I learned that there is plenty of evidence at our disposal to give us enough reason to trust what the Bible is telling us. I discovered there are numerous sources outside of the Bible that corroborate what it says. You may laugh at that and say, “Well, of course there are, and I don’t have to have you to tell me that.” I understand, but it is only what we believe for ourselves that truly makes the difference isn’t it?
Moving along my reading habits started to shift a little, and I discovered a Chinese author named Watchman Nee. He spent the last twenty years of his life in a prison for his Christian witness. He had quite a different take on things as far as I was concerned. Apologetics is the study of facts and logical thinking to prove a point. Watchman Nee introduced me to the Apostle Paul’s revelation of “Christ in You.” He spent more time talking about how it was all about Christ in you rather than you understanding it all. This marked quite the shift in my thinking. After spending a considerable amount of time reading Watchman Nee’s writing’s I discovered a disciple of his named Witness Lee. Witness Lee sort of carried on the ministry after the death of his mentor. He was a controversial figure, but who isn’t that has ever made a big impact on the world?
Soon after studying Watchman Nee and Witness Lee I came across an English author and missionary named Norman Grubb. He wrote several books during his long ninety eight year life. He lived as a missionary In the Belgian Congo and translated the New Testament into Bangala. Norman’s underlying theme to his writing is the revelation that Christ is the point. We humans are a vessel, temple and branch. The plan all along is for Christ to dwell in our vessel and express himself through us. We were crucified with Christ, buried, resurrected and ascended to the right hand of God. He said things I have never heard anyone say. He said things like, “God is the only person in the universe.” He came to the conclusion that God is the only person and everything is an expression of him. Some might think this is pantheism but he wasn’t saying God was everything but everything did in fact reveal something of God’s character to us. Of course man being the ultimate expression of God on the earth. While some may scoff at this or disagree there is no way for me to explain to you the impact his books have had on me. He said, “God created man in his own image that he might have a visible means of expressing and manifesting himself, The Invisible in visible form.”
Norman Grubb is just like the rest of us and he was also a reader. He read other authors too such as Soren Kierkegaard, William Law and Jacob Boehme to name a few. Since discovering Norman’s reading habits guess what? You guessed it I too have started reading some of William Law’s and Jacob Boehme’s works.
I could spend hours talking to you of the things I have learned from these and other writers but I won’t. I will simply leave you to dig and hunt on your own. We all have to find our own path and we will if we simply get on with it. I wrote this only to encourage you to expand your level of understanding by way of the books you read. There are so many men and women that have left us such great resources of understanding God and his universe. I would encourage you to read and read with only one thing in mind. No matter what authors or books you read never let anything but the Bible itself be the last word.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NASB But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.
Written by Louie