A nightmarish thought for parents is about some stranger luring their little children into danger by offering them candy. At the same time, the thought of a stranger luring a fully-grown man or woman into danger by offering them candy is truly laughable. No adult is going to be fooled by the same strategy that works so well on children. Why is that? It’s because growing up means that one becomes wiser about the ways we can be tricked by deceitful people.
Everyone understands this about personal safety. But do we understand how this works with the Word of God? A quick glance at history shows just how important growing up in God’s word is to the life of believers. For over a thousand years before Martin Luther, the Bible was only available in Latin. With high illiteracy rates, not all that many people could read and among them precious few could read Latin. So, when a Church Leader got up and claimed that the Bible said something there was almost no one who could check it out to see if it is true. Church officials used this situation to trick people into believing things that were not Biblical. The people were like children being offered candy. They had no way to resist.
One of the most important developments of the Reformation was that the Bible was translated into a language that everyone could read. Luther translated the Bible into German. John Wycliff translated the Bible into English. The floodgates of Biblical translation opened until the Bible is now the single most translated book on the planet. People who want to attain full maturity in the Word of God can do it without the complexity of learning a foreign language.
But just being able to read and understand is not the same thing as growing to full maturity as a Christian. Therefore, God continues to give teachers to the Church. Growing to full maturity involves both reading and studying the Bible. Reading gives us familiarity with what the Bible says. Study enables us to determine for ourselves what it means. The word Christian Disciple specifically means one who studies the teachings of Jesus and his apostles. In short only those who study the Bible can be considered Christian disciples. And the reason for becoming a Christian disciple is to make the effort required to reach full maturity in the knowledge of the Son of God. Only full maturity can arm us against the deceitful actions of God’s true enemies. St Paul explains why full maturity in God’s word is so important…
… until we all attain … to full maturity … so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Ephesians 4:13-14)