Q. How much should I study prophecy?
A. The primary thing to do is to study the Bible, the Word of God. With a grasp of the teachings of the Bible, you will find that Scripture places great emphasis on the future. Normally then, you would pursue examining the passages in which the Bible talks about heaven, the future of earth and the events that will surely come to pass. You will then be looking at the prophetic picture and you may feel constrained to invest some special time in studying this. After all, we will live in the future, an infinitely longer time than we have lived in the past. It is mystifying that some could know the Word of God and yet have no curiosity about the things to come. This probably evidences a spiritual deficiency.
Q. Why is the Bible long and complicated?
A. Any thing of value is long and appears complicated. God has chosen in His Word to give us the history of the world, the story of the nation of Israel and the message of the redemption of mankind. This may appear to be complicated, but we would hate to see anything left out, for we might, therefore, miss something very important. One should not expect such a marvelous treasure of the revelation of the mind of God to be short and sweet. Some have tried to abbreviate the Bible which attempt, being foolish and presumptuous, was guaranteed to fail.
Q. Is God really good? If so, why do bad things happen?
A. When God made the world, He made it perfect. He controlled everything until He made man. He made man a free moral agency and thereby gave Adam and Eve the power of choice. They chose to sin against God rather than to obey Him and so, the door was opened for every bad thing that has happened since. The Scripture says, â€śWherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men; for that all have sinnedâ€ť (Rom. 5:12). Bad things happen because sin has corrupted the world.
Q. Yes, but couldnâ€™t God have prevented Adam from sinning and thereby saved the world a lot of trouble?
A. He certainly could have, but by so doing He would destroy His purpose in creation. That purpose was to â€śbring many sons unto glory.â€ť These strong sons, the heirs to the universe,will have been made strong by living in a world of sin, temptation and bad things. Without this, man would be a will-less automaton and that would be the worst thing of all.
Q. Jesus knows what we need before we do. Why then shall we pray?
A. We should pray because we are told to. The point is that the things that happen in the world are a combination of the working of the will of God and the will of man. The will of the righteous man is expressed to God in prayer and, therefore, the praying person has been given â€śthe dignity of causalityâ€ť in bringing things to pass.
Q. In the midst of this disappointing and dangerous world, how do we really know that God loves us?
A. In answer to this, many have pointed to the warm sunshine, the beauty of nature, the happy fellowship with friends and things like this. All of these may, however, fail. The final, ultimate evidence of the love of God is the fact that He gave His Son to die for our sins on the cross. â€śBut God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for usâ€ť (Rom. 5:8). Additionally, the Scripture says, â€śHerein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sinsâ€ť (1 John 4:10). The statement that God loves us is proved forever by the finished work of Christ on Calvaryâ€™s cross. The love of God is, therefore, never to be doubted.
Q. Couldnâ€™t God, because He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, have prevented me from going bankrupt?
A. Obviously, He certainly could, but about this the Bible teaches a very interesting doctrine. It says that manifold trials may come upon us, â€śthat the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christâ€ť (1 Pet. 1:7). Out of the pit of financial collapse, many a Christian has emerged with a quality of spiritual life and an understanding of living that otherwise never would have been there. Bankruptcy may also prove that a person was in the wrong business after all. Dowden said, â€śSometimes a noble failure serves the world as faithfully as a distinguished success.â€ť
Q. Doesnâ€™t God call special people to be witnesses for Him?
A. God certainly calls and gives gifts for preaching, teaching, biblical exposition and like things. But Jesus was certainly speaking about every Christian when He said, â€śHe that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together . . . I sent you to reapâ€ť (Jn. 4:36,38). That includes everyone!