My daughter and I had a glorious morning on the beach. We swam in the ice cold water and enjoyed every minute. I say ice cold, but as we live in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, ice cold is obviously not freezing, but it was cold. We swam until a bluebottle passed my daughter’s face too close for comfort. We decided to call it a day and went for a walk on the beach. Bluebottles are really beautiful. I was surprised to learn that bluebottles are siphonophores, an odd group of colonial jellyfish. Rather than being a single organism like the jellyfish. These are actually made up of several colony members called persons. These members include feeding persons, reproductive persons and stinging persons. They have a gas filled bladder (which is another person). This bubble is what we recognise bluebottles by. Together this colony contains male and female parts so are able to reproduce asexually, meaning the bluebottle makes clones of itself. If you come into contact with one of their tentacles in the water, they reflex release nematocysts or stinging cells. The sting can be excruciatingly painful. Bluebottles are best avoided.
We often encounter beautiful and enticing things in everyday life that are best avoided. In the book of Proverbs, which is ascribed to Solomon, he warns over and over against the wiles of wanton women. As it turned out, his love of women were his destruction. 1 Timothy 6:10, ‘For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pieced themselves through with many arrows.” That happens. Temptations creep up and take hold of people and if they don’t recognize the schemes of the enemy in time, they get trapped. Then verses 11 and 12 say, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
Then follow instructions to the rich that they should not be haughty and shouldn’t put their trust in their riches, but in God. To do good with what they have and rather store up a good foundation in Christ so that they can have eternal life. Verse 20 – 21, “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoid the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge – by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.”
This last admonition is very interesting and I know of people who having been professing Christians before, found some so-called intellectual teachings and decided that they were true, and in that way strayed from the faith. We have to remember that the Bible was written by normal, down-to-earth, God-fearing people. It was not written by philosophers and intellectuals. If the authors of the Bible had been super clever learned people with a string of degrees behind their names, it would be off-limits and outside the grasp of most people. As it is, everyone who can read, and who can understand spoken language can, with the help of the Holy Spirit understand the Word of God. The Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom to be able to understand scripture.
1 Corinthians 2 :6-12. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not he wisdom of this age, not of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: Eye has not seen, not ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
In order to understand scripture, we need the Holy Spirit. Although there isn’t anything wrong with getting a degree, but avoid people and teachings that say higher learning and degrees are the only way you can understand the meaning of the Bible.