Up until I was twenty-eight, I had very little knowledge of the Bible. I had been to church as a youngster, but I was only there because I had to go. Later, while in my middle teens, I went because that is where the girls were. After joining the Navy at seventeen, I do not recall having a great deal to do with church except for a brief period of time when I became a Catholic. Even then, I do not recall being encouraged to read the Bible, nor do I remember hearing the Gospel presented as I now understand it. Obviously, I was not a born-again Christian; I was a Christian in name only.
While attending college, I bought into the philosophy that religion was nothing more than superstition. As a result, I became an atheist, and not just an atheist, I became "superior" in my own mind to the "fools" who believed in God. Then, one day "out of the blue," I heard the Gospel and surrendered to Jesus Christ. At that very instant, I knew three things: my sins were forgiven, the Bible was the Word of God, and I would one day be a preacher (little did I know it would take twenty years). I cannot explain how I came to know those three things; perhaps it was the same way Adam knew how to name the animals. It has been forty years, and I still believe all three as much now as I did then.
Of course, as an atheist, I denied the Bible was the inspired Word of God. But following my salvation experience, I discovered that there are many ways to deny God's Word. The first, and most obvious way, is to live one's life without applying the instruction of the Word. When I sin, I have basically chosen to ignore what I know God wants of me.
A believer can also deny God's inspired revelation to His children by focusing upon parts of the Word, and ignoring the rest. The Bible says that "ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (teaching), reproof, for correction, (and) for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16). Accordingly, a believer should be reading it to learn what pleases his God, and what does not.
Still another way to deny God's Word is to take a verse out of context to support one's view on something. People love to tell Christians that the Bible says not to judge others (Matt. 7:1), but the Word does tell believers to judge the brethren righteously (Jn. 7:24; 1 Cor. 5:3; 6:4-5; 10:15; 14:29; etc.). And, you would be amazed at how often preachers miss-apply passages to prove their point. As a dispensationalist, I cringe when I hear people speak of current events as proof that the Lord is about to return to rule the world. There have always been floods, famines, wars, earthquakes, etc., but they pale in comparison to those which will occur during the Tribulation. I find it difficult to be silent when someone uses Matthew 24:40-41 as teaching the Rapture. If they read the passage in context, it shows the ones taken are destroyed, not the ones left behind (Noah and Lot remained alive on Earth). More on this topic tomorrow, Lord willing.