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The Amish Voice 11

People of many different faiths, churches,

and denominations can tell you what they

believe. You can probably tell others what

you believe. Often, though, our beliefs are

little more than tradition or opinions. Is it

okay to get drunk? Is homosexuality

wrong? What kind of music should you

listen to? Is it wrong to steal? How do we

get eternal life? Is it wrong to study the

Bible on our own?

How do we find answers to questions like

these? To tell someone that stealing or

taking God’s name in vain are wrong

without explaining why does not seem

very convincing. To tell others that it is

sinful to do or wear certain things simply

because that is how we have always done

it does not help others understand.

We ought to follow Jesus—not as a slave

following a master, but as a child

following his or her loving parents. There

are indeed times when a child may not

understand the whole picture, but must

simply obey without knowing why.

However, as the child grows up, his

understanding should also increase. It is

one thing for children to follow rules

which the parents understand, but if

parents set rules for their children and

neither the parents nor the children

understand the reasons for those rules, it

can be a good thing to ask, “Why?” and to

search for the answer.

The scribes and Pharisees had many,

many rules. Some came from the Bible.

Many did not. Jesus did not mind pointing

out to them when their rules were only

human tradition, or especially when their

man-made rules kept people from

following the word of God.

I hope that you read the Bible and pray

every day. If you have a good relationship

with your spouse, you will talk together

and hopefully even pray together daily. If

you love your children, you will spend

time with them and show them and tell

them that you love

them. If you love

God, you will





every day and

show by your

life that you

care about what

he says in His word.

Can you imagine dying and

standing before God and trying to explain

to Him that you tried to be a good person,

that you tried to keep all of the rules of

your community, but that you never read

the Bible? Will you tell Him that you took

your children to church, worked hard, but

you never knew Jesus? What if you tried

to explain to God that you were taught

that in order to get to heaven you had to

try to be good, join the church, help

others, but that you had no idea what the

Bible actually said about eternal life?

Do not let this happen to you. There is a

reason why God gave us His word and

allowed it to be translated into our own

common language. He wants us to know

Him and follow the Bible. He wants us to

learn how we can be forgiven, why Jesus

came to earth to die for us, and how we

can be born again. When Jesus was

tempted by Satan in the wilderness, how

did He respond? He did not tell Satan all

about Jewish tradition, but said, “It is

written . . . .” We are told in the book of

Isaiah, “Seek ye out of the book of the

Lord, and read” (Isaiah 34:16). In the

longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119,

David tells us in 176 verses how precious

God’s word is to him and how it ought to

be to us. Jesus told the Sadducees, “Ye do

err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the

power of God.” (Matthew 22:29). He told

the scribes and Pharisees that they were

making the word of God of no effect

through their tradition (Mark 7:13). The

apostle Peter tells us, “As

newborn babes, desire the

sincere milk of the word,

that ye may grow

thereby” (I Peter 2:2).

The apostle Paul told

Timothy to “Study to

shew thyself approved

unto God, a workman that

needeth not to be ashamed,

rightly dividing the word of truth” (2

Timothy 2:15). The apostle John wrote,

“These things have I written unto you that

believe on the name of the Son of God;

that ye may know that ye have eternal life,

and that ye may believe on the name of

the Son of God” (I John 5:13). Jesus

Himself told us to “Search the

Scriptures” (John 5:39).

What would Jesus say to you? Would He

tell you that you are in error because you

do not know the Scriptures nor the power

of God? Would He tell you that you are

placing your traditions above God’s

word? Can you explain what you

believe—not just because you were taught

to believe it, but because you see and

know and understand the truth of God’s

word? Can you take your Bible and show

someone how to be born again? Can you

open your Bible and explain to someone

how to have eternal life? Do you read the

Bible on your own? Do you read and

explain it to your children? Will you one

day stand before God and tell Him that

you have gone to church for 60 years, but

have never once read through the Bible?

May we learn to know and love God’s

word! May we read it every day—and

read with understanding. Let us ask God

to teach us and to give us the desire to

stand upon and live according to His holy


—Paul Miller

What Do You Believe?


—By Paul Miller