My grandmother taught me there was a god. She taught me a reverence for the Bible.
I had no idea WHY I should revere it, but I am glad she did. At that time, it was a special book that made a person feel good when they read it. Beyond that, what I thought I knew about the Bible was that it had magical powers.
For example, if you were feeling bad, open it to any page and start reading. The verses you read would make you feel better. And, if you were ever dealing with demons, whether they possessed someone or made blood flow from the walls, just read something from the Bible and the demons get mad and try to make you stop; if you stood up to chandeliers flying at you, hearing demonic voices telling you how you masturbate too much, or getting pea soup puked on you, the spirits would flee and go bother someone who didn’t have a Bible.
But, that was all she was able to teach me about the Bible before the demon of Alzheimer’s got her and put her in a nursing home, where for 20 years, she rotted away from being a loving grandmother, to a lifeless body that looked like my grandmother. My mom tried to further my Bible knowledge by encouraging me to go to Sunday School while she stayed home.
Then, in 1984, my little brother started going to church. The change in him was so dramatic, I swore he was brain-washed by a cult.
So, I went to the church he was attending to see for myself. It wasn’t a brain-washing. It was a heart-washing. He had become a Christian. Through his testimony of the life he was now living, I, too, accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior on January 22, 1984.
From that day forward, I began learning ABOUT the Bible and what the Bible said. Initially, I accepted it as God’s Word, without question, due to how it utterly changed and directed my life. And, it was no longer the mumbojumbo of randomly opening a page and trying to apply it.
Instead, I did a couple forms of study.
One was a topical study, where I would choose a subject I wanted to know about; then, I would find every passage written on the subject. After doing that, I would read the context of those passages. By doing this, I learned a lot about a lot. There was one topic that bothered me, compared to what was taught. You will read about this in a later blog thread, so stay tuned.
The other study was a straight through study. Starting with Genesis, reading straight through to the end of Revelation. This was assisted by Alexander Scourby’s audio recording of the KJV. With Scourby’s help, I was able to get through the whole Bible in about 80 hours. After the 15th time through the Bible, I stopped counting, but it is nearing 100 times, I would gather. Add in the topical studies and it probably is well past 100 times.
After I married in 1994, I continued my studies. In 1999, I was a member of the Laurel Baptist Temple, in Laurel MD. When I first attended, the pastor would have study questions for the next week’s sermon in the bulletin. My first Sunday attending, the pastor and congregation were amazed how I answered all of the questions before any of the congregation, who had questions a week ahead of time, and written down could answer them. I even heard a couple whispers about, “Wow, who is this guy?” and such. It was hilarious and fun to know my hours of study impressed someone.
But, my studies were for personal knowledge, not for the adoration of others. Still, i would be lying if I said it was not a good feeling to know my Bible knowledge impressed someone.
Then, in 2002, my faith was challenged.
After 9/11, I lost my major IT contract with Compaq Computers. My other clients were going out of business after the recession started in 1999 finally sapped their last dollars.
In 2002, I was working at a gas station. I went from making $150K to $10K. I had a wife who bitched about everything. She was miserable.
What’s worse was that through growing up in an impoverished family, I learned how to find joy out of the littlest of pleasures. How that is worse is that she had not learned this. Instead, she felt that misery motivates one to get out of a depressed situation. She saw my glimmer of joy out of little things as a threat.
A threat to ever getting out of the hellhole we were in.
So, she did everything she could to destroy those little joys in my life. Through bitching, mostly, but in whatever way she could, she counteracted my joys by making me feel miserable. (She stole my life from me. That part is now a very small part, the size of only a memory of another horrible part of my life.)
So, I was at my last straw. I could not take the hardship any longer. Then, at the bank to deposit our last $200 so we could pay the rent, the wind blew that money away as I was reaching for it to put it in the ATM.
I got home and decided I was not going to serve God any more. I told my wife, “If this is how God treats me, He’s a pisspoor god.”
I went to bed in tears. My life was ripped to shreds…my work life was destroying me as a person, my wife was destroying my soul, and now God had ripped away the last ounce of personal trust I had in him to take care of me.
The next morning, I woke up a zombie. My life, soul, and spirit were all vaccuums. I knew I needed to get my life back. I had to decide what was important. I needed to decide what i could rely on.
I will focus on my Bible study since that is what this thread is about.
I decided, “I need to settle what the Bible is. It has been my motivator for 18 years, half my life. I need to decide whether it was a waste of time.”
I began a study of the origins of the modern cannon of Scipture. I will not rehash that here since most of my studies were from internet sources and you can find the original documents with a simple search. I even researched the claims of less-than-honorable motivations for the books chosen. Suffice to say, I grew confident that the current Bible is the accepted texts considered the Word of God. Of the “alternate” stories of cannon creation, I found all to be the fanciful ideas of crazed men and men with ulterior motives.
I also gained confidence that the KJV was the best English translation available for both topical study and regular reading. Sure, it has issues, but all of them can be resolved by studying original text and other versions. I am not KJV-only. I am KJV and cannot be bothered using something else.
Before my meltdown, my faith in the Bible and that it was God’s Word, was a head-influenced heart knowledge. Now, it is something greater. Now, I have faith that the Bible is God’s Word and I am more confident in it than that I have another breath coming. It is not that I would make a choice that I would die before denying that the Bible is God’s Word. It is that it is impossible for me to believe that the Bible is anything but God’s Word.