THE LORD SAID, "TAKE NO THOUGHT HOW OR WHAT YE SHALL SPEAK; FOR IT SHALL BE GIVEN YOU IN THAT SAME HOUR WHAT YE SHALL SPEAK" (MATTHEW 10:19). DOES THIS MEAN THAT WE NEED NOT PREPARE AND STUDY TO DEFEND THE FAITH?
Jesus did not say--don't study the Bible to defend the faith, but simply said, don't worry when the hour of test comes. Rather, the Lord Himself said elsewhere:
Search the Scriptures. (John 5:39)
We have got to search it as we search for hidden treasures. God through His servant, said:
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures. (Proverbs 2:1 4)
The learned apostle Paul instructed young Timothy to study the Word of God in a manner that God approves:
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)
Didn't Peter also advice us to be always prepared to answer questions on faith? He said:
Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)
We've got to be ready, we've got to have an answer, and we've got to defend the faith at all times. God can defend His cause on His own, but it is our privilege to defend it. We are God's instruments.
And Solomon told us what our part is:
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer. (Proverbs 15:26)
We have got to study to answer objections that unbelievers put forth. We have got to study to answer our own doubts. We have to study to answer the infidels and scoffers. When we have done our part, God will do His part. We do not know how cunning the devil could be. But when we have done our basic preparations, God will do the rest, for His glory.
Even to study and to prepare for the any-time challenge that will be posed, we need God's help. Look at this beautiful promise in Proverbs:
The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. (Proverbs 16:1)
If we spend time with God in prayer and in the study of His word, (not just reading,) God will glorify His holy name through us.
When the great hour of trial comes, which is not far away, the promise of Jesus can be ours. Fear as to how we shall face the great men of the land should be gone, as Jesus promised special assistance to His children who have done the basics. Lo, the wonderful promise of divine assistance:
And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (Matthew 10:18-20)
Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. (Luke 21:14, 15)
What more do we need? It is God's business we are in, and it is God's business to defend the faith through His human instruments, as we allow Him to use us!
When Jesus met the tempter in the wilderness, He quoted Scriptures all the three times. The devil misquoted Scripture once, but Christ rightly divided the word of truth and shot back with another Scripture. (See Matthew 4:1-11.) Do you think Jesus (who came as a real man) could quote these Bible texts without having read and studied them well? No! Jesus was very familiar with the entire Old Testament. When the crisis came, the Holy Spirit picked up the right text for the occasion and flashed it to His mind. The same help is promised to the followers of Jesus. So don't worry when you have done your basics!