We believe The Refiner’s Fire is one of the few on-line ministries that will actually take time to answer questions from our readers. We take pride in providing Biblically-based and defended answers to legitimate questions and try to answer them all. (It is our observation that not many ministries do that – and, by the way, we don’t ever ask for a dime...)
Unfortunately, we have found that when we answer, a large number of correspondents suddenly seem to believe we are “their new best-friend,” and begin barrage us with endless additional questions! Inevitably, we will begin to realize that the person doesn’t have a good grasp of Scripture at all, and we may be wasting our time doing research and providing answers to someone who doesn’t really understand our responses. When that happens, we usually come right out and ask: “Have you read the Bible cover-to-cover (Genesis to Revelation)?” And “If so, how many times?”
The reason we ask is this:
Many ask questions about Scripture, having only preconceived ideas from what they’ve “heard”. They’ve either never read the Bible, or read only snippets here and there; yet they feel qualified to inundate us with tons of questions – many of which take a lot of time to research … which then prompts more questions. Once we figure out that they really don’t know much about the Bible, we will ask them to discuss the novel, “War and Peace” with us – to which they reply that they can’t, because they’ve never read it. “Okay,” we reply, “you’ve never read the Bible, either, so why are you posing all these questions for us to research?”
Somehow, it seems the Bible is a “free-for-all” that can be picked apart by those with absolutely NO knowledge of Scripture, but they don’t hesitate to argue their opinion on it, regardless. It can be quite maddening!
So, why would we ask “how many times” someone has read the whole Bible? Because it’s critically important! First of all, if someone has never read the Bible, or only picked through a few verses, they are wasting our time. And reading through the whole Bible only one time can only leave one with many (seriously: MANY) unanswered questions. It’s no secret that each time you read through, you’ll gain a bit more understanding. In fact, we at The Refiner’s Fire continue to read through scripture year after year, even though we have done so many times already. There is so much to learn! Everyone who claims to be a Believer should do this.
Christians are, unfortunately, the worst. They often quote a scripture, out of context, from the New Testament; and attempt to tell us what it means (because they’re challenging us concerning the NT); or they’ll ask what we think it means, and then become belligerent when we refer to the proper understanding drawn from the Tanakh (Old Testament) to clarify why their preconceived (i.e., erred) understanding was incorrect.
But here is a fact to any and all people, including Christians: If you have NOT read the Tanakh, then you simply don’t understand the New Testament. You can’t understand the New Testament UNTIL you’ve studied the “Old Testament.” Period! It simply is not possible to understand the New Testament without the foundation of the Torah!
Jews, on the other hand, hardly bother to write to us, but those who have rejected Jesus and joined other “counter-missionaries” in their attempts to bash Jesus and the New Testament, certainly do! And they do exactly as Christians do: Twist Scripture to suit their own purposes, and challenge us to prove them wrong. Well, it’s easy to allow Scripture to explain Scripture – but whenever someone’s heart is set on trying to force Scripture to line up according to their present understanding, there’s really nothing much you can say. It’s fruitless to argue with someone whose mind is made up.
That being said, while we DO appreciate your correspondence, we would ask you to be aware that sometimes our answer may not be what you were expecting. If it’s not, please don’t hound us to death about it. A couple of emails will suffice. In the end, if you don’t agree with our response, let it go.
In the meantime we would ask that people start taking responsibility for their own spiritual growth by studying the Word on their own. Get into Scripture for yourself so you can KNOW what it says or doesn’t say. That way, you will at least be able to come from a knowledgeable viewpoint, and not waste anyone’s time with frivolous questions.