N. B. Hardeman was one of the outstanding preachers and educators of the 20th Century. He was for many years President of Freed-Hardeman College in Henderson Tennessee. When asked about the dangers facing the church, he replied:
- First, a lack of Bible knowledge and a light regard for what it says.
- A tendency to make the church a social club for entertainment.
- A disposition to compromise the truth and discourage sound preaching.
- A love for the praise of men more than the praise of God, lest they be put out of someone’s social circle.
These statements are just as true today as when he made them. Let us look closer at these statements by this strong defender of the faith of bygone years.
“A lack of Bible knowledge.” Members of the Lord’s church used to be known as “walking Bibles,” but this is not true of many today. This lack of knowledge is due to a lack of study. Paul taught that we are to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God” (II Tim. 2:15). The Bereans, “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). The Jews were also charged by Jesus to “Search the scriptures” (John 5:39-40). The Hebrew writer wrote of a similar time when men were not able to hear and understand the things he wanted to teach them because, “ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat” (Heb. 5:11-14). Peter, in the last thing he wrote, urged us to, “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
The Bible has long been on the “Best Seller” list; but I am afraid it could also be put on the “Least Read” list as well. Be honest with yourself. How much time do you spend in reading and studying the Bible each week? Now compare that amount of time with the amount of time you spend on “social media.” Folks don’t even know how to sit and talk anymore. At restaurants, instead of talking, you see many folks with their cell phones or some other type of electronic device. I wonder what an abundance of Bible knowledge would be gained if folks were that interested in reading and studying their Bibles? It is the only information that can get us to heaven; it is the Book we will be judged by (John 12:48; Rev. 20:11-15). “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Does this describe you?
Paul M. Wilmoth