For over a half a century, I have had the privilege of studying the Bible. I believe this is the fulfillment by my Savior of a prayer I earnestly prayed following the death of my mother. As a new believer, I witnessed to her by my love and devotion to her, by the changes in my life which had been transformed dramatically by the power of the Holy Spirit and God's Word, and by my feeble explanations of what had changed my life.
How she received this, I can only guess, as I did not know how to express my faith in conversation because I did not yet know the Scriptures. Upon returning to my dorm room at college following her funeral, I bowed my knees and pleaded with God for answers to the many questions I knew she had, and I was unable to answer. His answer to my prayers, for I was so burdened that I pleaded with God over a period of time until my soul was satisfied that He heard me and would answer, unfolded over fifty-three wonderful years of studying, preaching, and teaching.
I am privileged to have received a Master of Divinity, and two Doctor of Ministry degrees. Now, retired from full-time public service, I can devote more time to learning. God has given me wonderful brethren who continue sharpening my thinking and understanding of God's Word more than I was able to experience while in full-time public ministry.
When I refer, therefore, to the library of my mind, I go back to that simple prayer fifty-three years ago. I was committing myself to seeking answers to questions my mother was asking in her own way, but also to questions I was asking. This took the form of a library in my mind of many questions which the process of illumination would answers as I studied the Scriptures.
My study has always begun by personal interaction with the context of the Bible utilizing all of the tools at my disposal. I wanted to know what the Bible says. If my personal resources did not provide the answer, I would then, and only then, seek what others had to say about that text. I always take what man says and see if, by my own personal resources, it is consistent with what I believe the text is saying.
As the process of illumination took place over time, there were still many question left unanswered. This formed the compendium in the library of my mind.
Now, in the twilight of life, through my continued personal study, through the sharpening of my mind by my conversations with brethren of like mind, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can say with the apostle Paul, "though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." ( 2 Cor 4:16)
The greatest joy in this season of my life in the unfolding of God's plan for my life, is the wonderful way in which God is filling in the blanks with the answers to questions I stored in the library of my mind. Each of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, need a library of our mind. Here are some simple steps to develop your own library:
- Read and study God's Word. (2 Tim 2:15)
- Ask questions of God's Word. No question is too simple or too complex. Be confident that the answer has already been revealed; all that you need for life and godliness. (2 Pe 1:3)
- See what God is leading other students of God's Word to believe. The Holy Spirit speaks triangularly.
- Be sure to always trust the answers God is giving you from God's Word over man's. If what you see is not in agreement with what others are seeing, add this question to the library of your mind. Don't force an answer if you are uncertain regarding it.
- Finally, be consistent over time. The process of illumination of the mind, i.e., spiritual maturity, takes time.
The rewards for your efforts in due time, as God permits, will be the greatest experience one can enjoy in this life.
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we shall do, if God permits. (Heb 6:1-3)