There is so much to learn and understand when it comes to the Bible. If there wasn’t then there wouldn’t be so many differing opinions, Bible translations, and denominations and so on. I know for me I just had to know. I wanted to learn all I could so I could be all I knew God wanted me to be. I checked books out of the library and bought books every chance I could because I was a man on a mission. I had grown up like so many others with some vague idea about who God is and what he expected of me but now I was determined to find out for sure.
For the first few years after being born again I delved into apologetics. Biblical apologetics aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defending faith against objections. The topic of apologetics tends to fuel theological debates. Nevertheless, I wanted to have some sort of rational answers when asked why I believed the Bible. I’m not going to say I can answer every objection brought up by skeptics but I will say I am surer of the reliability of the scriptures since doing the study.
I’ve said all of this to get to my point today. I started reading Paul’s first letter to Timothy this morning and found some pretty sound advice within the first five verses. Paul of course, is writing to Timothy, whom he calls his son in the faith, who happens to be a young pastor. He urges Timothy to “instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.” There is no end to a discussion based on speculations and it tends to always be a faith drainer rather than a faith builder.
The next bit of advice for young Timothy I think I’ll adopt for myself. Paul told him “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” You see you don’t have to have all the answers in order to love someone and have a clear conscience. Endless discussions based on theory, tradition or some scientists’ logic is not the way to build a sincere faith either.
This reminds me of Paul’s fantastic “Love chapter” found in 1 Corinthians 13. He shared how speaking in tongues, the gift of prophecy, having knowledge, giving everything to the poor etc. will eventually go away but faith, hope and love will abide forever.
In conclusion, let me say I strongly push for people to study and dig deep into the things of God. I love it when someone has questions and is sincere in wanting to understand more about the Bible and God. When you boil it all down and it all settles in the end it is love, a pure conscience and sincere faith that is going to count. Studying the Bible is not about winning a theological argument. If our study isn’t building others up in love and faith we may want to rethink our priorities. I’m sure thankful Paul wrote this letter to a young preacher so many years ago.
I’ve been thinking about love and respect lately. It has been brought to my attention that a man’s primary need is respect and a woman’s is love. Have you ever thought about how the Bible commands the husband to love his wife but it doesn’t command the wife to love her husband?
The wife is told to respect her husband. Apparently the husband has more of a need for respect than a feeling of being loved and the wife is the opposite. Obviously both the husband and wife need love and respect but not in equal proportions to one another.
If you were to ask a group of men the question “would you rather feel unloved and alone or disrespected what do you think the answer would be?” Overwhelmingly most men would choose to feel alone rather than disrespected and the women, you guessed it, are the exact opposite needing a sense of love more so than respect.
Respect for a man is something built into his very nature. A wife will be hard pressed to get him to respond if he is feeling disrespected. Of course she thinks as long as she behaves lovingly towards him he will love her in return but that is not how this works. The secret is respect. If she shows him respect he will respond toward her lovingly. This all works in the reverse for the husband. When he treats his wife lovingly she will reciprocate with respect. Fascinating how God made us to operate isn’t it?
I heard a man on the radio describe respect as being like a man’s native tongue. He said he was in Mongolia for a while and didn’t understand the language at all. One day he overheard someone say, in perfect English, “the Red Sox won the World Series.” Of course his ears perked up and he was drawn toward that voice because it was something he understood. In the same way when a wife respects her husband he will be drawn to her and she will have his full attention. I’m sure you have caught on by now and you realize that this works the same way with the wife but her native tongue is love.
As I soaked in all of this understanding about love and respect a thought occurred to me. All of the sudden some things made sense to me about men and women and their behavior in prison for instance. When you hear things about men in prison respect is a huge part of how they get along. When one man does something and the other feels disrespected it can cause quite violent repercussions. With women, and their need for love, they seem to have more same sex relationships while serving in prison. It all became crystal clear to me today as to why this is. Simply put it is because this is how we are made to function as the two different sexes. A man’s overwhelming need is to be respected and a woman’s is to be loved.
To sum this up for now let me just say this to the women. If you are not feeling loved by your husband my one piece of advice to you is start showing him respect and see what happens. I know you may say, “He doesn’t deserve my respect.” The truth is it doesn’t matter if you think he deserves it or not you are commanded to do it. The men are the same way they may think “I’m not loving her she doesn’t deserve it.” He too has been commanded to love his wife and that has absolutely no bearing on whether he thinks she deserves it or not.
“And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)