I see that Friday, July 6th, was “National Kissing Day.” Isn’t that sweet? So, in honor of the day, I share what “kiss” means to me.
In my ministry’s early years, wife Leslie would remind me of K.I.S.S., an acronym for “Keep It Simple Stupid” or “Keep it Simply Stated.” If she puckered her lips in church, it meant one thing: I needed to make it simpler or lose my audience.
In An Essay on Criticism, the English writer Alexander Pope (1688-1744) penned these words “A little learning is a dang’rous thing.” I have taken this as a reminder how a teacher can do harm if they play fast and loose with the facts. “Fools” is the word the Bible uses to describe the arrogant who lack knowledge.
Claiming to be wise they became fools. (Romans 1:22 ESV)
Regarding our blog’s focus on prophecy, Scripture warns not to speak on holy things unless we have our facts straight.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness… So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! (James 3:1, 5)
Consider the consequences if we know little about operating a chain saw, combining chemicals or handling explosives yet instruct others. Perhaps teaching prophecy without knowledge should be at the top of the “bad consequences” list. Wouldn’t it be better to lose an eye or an arm, than to speak in error on God’s behalf? (Confession time: On occasions that is what I did. Now I make every effort to speak the truth in love.)
On the other hand, woe is me if I’ve received insights into things to come but did not share it. Near the end of Revelation, the Glorified Christ gave this solemn warning:
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Rev. 22:18-19 NIV)
Knowing the above: I’d rather take a short course on milking venom from vipers and go snake hunting than speak presumptuously about Bible prophecy. Alexander Pope was correct; a little learning is “dang’rous.” Given a delicious spoonful of knowledge, we may convince ourselves we are wise or believe our instructor is wise, yet be wrong on both counts. With little understanding we have insufficient grounds for confidence or recognize how much remains unknown.
Men complicate things by jabbering on about subjects of which their knowledge is limited. God, however, specializes in making wise the simple. (See Proverbs 1:1-7, 2 Timothy 3:15)
Instead of continually using teachers or their books as our source, open the Bible. Ask the Spirit for instruction. It is in understanding God’s Word through the Spirit that we become wise. No substitute will do. The Scriptures alone are able to make us wise unto salvation.
I recommend God’s Word using the K.I.S.S. method. Follow all five of these rules:
- Accept Scripture in its most normal, natural and customary sense. (If the plain sense makes sense, then you have the right sense.)
- Compare Scripture with Scripture
- Always study Scripture in context
- Before truth can be realized, all seeming Scriptural contradictions must be harmonized.
- Look for near/far prophetic applications in Scripture.(Borrowed from Robert Van Kampen’s, The Sign, page 5.)
When God’s prophetic Word becomes like water gushing forth from within, then we are ready to K.I.S.S. For in teaching by the Book, we fulfill our disciple’s role of teacher (cf. Matthew 28:20):
…entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2b)
This is our challenge. Pursue understanding from God. State it simply. Then forever we will be among the wise.
Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. (Daniel 12:10 NIV)