I have been having conversations with someone who has been telling me that because I don’t attend a church right now that I have no authority to study God’s Word. She asks me what degree I have and with how much command I understand greek and hebrew. To me it’s such a petty argument. Yeah, I have a degree in theology, but I don’t believe that God requires us to have a doctorate or any degree to be led by the Spirit while reading God’s Word. However, I am always up for a little research and the truth is I don’t know everything (or I’d be God) so let’s look into this.
When I was in school we learned about when Christ died as the time when we became responsible for our own spiritual learning. The curtain in the temple tore from the top down and gave us what we call the priesthood of the believers. We could encounter God for ourselves now. Obviously, I was raised baptist as this doctrine is seen as predominately baptist. But is it Biblical?
1 Peter 2:5-9 is where we originally see the idea and terminology priesthood of the believers. In this passage, a chosen people are mentioned. They are raised out of darkness and into the light. This is what the baptist church teaches happens to believers. We are raised out of the darkness of sin and into God’s light. This passage also says that believers spiritual sacrifice is acceptable to God through Jesus. This is why we no longer offer animal sacrifices, because Jesus’ sacrifice was the last blood sacrifice and is wholly sufficient. Anyway, the chosen people in this passage (believers) are built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood. Priests used to be the only ones who were allowed to be the ones to offer up the sacrifices of the people in the holy of holies, but now we are all asked to offer up sacrifices and thus we are all priests.
Matthew 27:51 The holy of Holies was the area in the temple where only the high priest could enter once a year (Yom Kippur) and encounter God on behalf of the people. In the Old Testament, this is where God resided. When the curtain in the temple tore from the top to the bottom it opened the Holy of Holies and symbolically represented that now anyone can approach God. You no longer need an intermediary because Christ is our intercessor. Hebrews 4:14-16The Holy Spirit now resides within the believers and we need no priest to interact for us with God. We are privileged to have a personal relationship with God.
Of course this is all from the perspective of my particular faith tradition and other sects of Christianity believe differently. Me personally, I believe that God would not require us to receive doctorate degrees or specialize in greek to be able to understand God’s word. Even the fact that it was written in koine greek rather than classic greek shows us that it was intended for the common man. Jesus wasn’t palling around with the scribes, Pharisees and such. he built his base of followers from everyday people. Kind of like the whole Joe the plumber thing. Acts 4:13 said that people took notice of that. They saw that Peter and John were “bold, unlearned and ignorant” and then verse 14 goes on to say that they could say nothing against them seeing what miracles they had just seen.
It is my opinion that this is God. God is in the muck of it, struggling with, talking with, and conferring with us; the little people, the nobodies. God is not playing a game with our souls. God is not trying to keep secrets from us. God gave us truth and God wants everyone to seek and find it.
I don’t think God demands I learn greek and hebrew to study God’s Word and build my faith on it. I think God demands that I remain teachable. That I seek God.