We may not fully understand that we can have a personal and interactive relationship with God rather than one that has been censored by intercessors telling us what to believe and how to practice our faith. We may be substituting what the Bible has to say for what church authorities or academia have to say. We may be very busy, too busy for study of the Bible, and cling, instead, to familiar verses posted on a refrigerator door or culled out from a sermon and written down in the space provided on a church brochure, or even highlighted in our Bible with notes written in the side margins. These isolated scriptures and interpretations inspire us. We hang on to them as if these snippets alone can bridge our earthly experience with His heavenly promises. We are unaware that quite possibly our faith is based solely on pastoral or priestly intervention, telling us what the Bible says. We relegate serious study of the Bible to those who have committed their lives scrutinizing what sometimes seems inscrutable. Even when we do read on our own, we often rely on familiar church doctrines and pastoral perspectives to guide us. We use the filtering lens of others in appointed or self-appointed authority to tell us about salvation and God.
This little book challenges the status quo of reading the Bible through the filter of intercessors, church doctrines, and ideologies. How can we find the truth for ourselves in the Bible? There is only one place that a person with an open mind can go to find an unfiltered understanding of Jesus and the Father. Nowhere else does His unfiltered message to His people exist, but through the Bible and in an interactive relationship with God through prayer. We can discover His truth and His love for ourselves. Our pastors and priests, rabbis and charismatic leaders should not be a substitute for knowing God personally. Some of us cannot even recognize the voice of God because we have trained our minds and hearts to hear only the voice of the clergy or academia. We may be satisfied knowing comforting scriptures rather than thinking critically about what the Bible has to say. After all, critical thinking creates risks.
We risk discovering that the pleasantries of organized religion, its networking and friendships, and traditions pleasantly tempered to fit Christian sensibilities may lack the revolutionary truth of the Messiah and His ancient reformation. Some of you will put down this little book because you will not be up to the challenge of inquiry and discussion, discerning what is biblically true or not true for yourself. Some of us believe we are saved and there is nothing new to discover or discuss. We attend church and tithe and transact within corporate Christianity as the surety of our once-saved-always-saved salvation. We may feel that re-examining our own spiritual condition is unnecessary. However, there are some of us who are asking questions and searching for scriptural answers and taking our spiritual temperature to see if it’s lukewarm. So here it is, discovery time: what does the Bible really say about salvation? We may not like it; we may disregard it. Here, however, there will be no church tradition to filter His message, just the Bible, our powers of reasoning and the Holy Spirit to guide us through a discovery of His truth.