I couldn’t help but notice the other day an ad for a local church about an impending gospel meeting which featured no less than 8 preachers who featured a doctorate degree. Now, I don’t have anything against a proper education, but truthfully, why would a man need 8 years of education to understand a bible which was written on the level of a 7th or 8th grader? Why would any church value secular education over the by-product of a church education? Did not Paul instruct us that the church reveals the manifold wisdom of God? (Eph 3:10) Did not Paul also tell us that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth? (1 Tim 3:15) Is it any wonder why so many doctrines of men have penetrated the churches of Christ?
Our God in Heaven hasn’t given laws that are complicated, deceiving or hid. (Isa 45:19) This is not to say that all things in the scriptures are easily understood, for Peter said that some of Paul’s writings were “hard to be understood” (2 Pet. 3:16) but at the same time, God has not given a Testament void of simplicity, but just to the contrary! Paul also wrote, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Paul also made mention of the fact that “. . . when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:4). So in reading, we can understand the simplicity that is in Christ.
Often, preachers will be guilty of taking simple New Testament truths and making them complicated. Some will even tell you that you can’t understand the bible on your own. So complicated are they, that about the only thing the listener learns when his speech is over is how impressed the speaker is with himself. Many brethren feel you ought to use “big words” to impress your audience, “Greek or Hebrew words” to show them how educated you are. I ask, why? The Apostle Paul was highly educated, yet of his preaching he said, “And, I brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God . . . . my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom . . . . that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:1, 4-5). And again he said, “Yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” (1 Cor 14:19) Big words have their place, but not when God’s word is being preached! If men want to impress other men with how educated they are, let them find another time and another place! We would do well to strive to impress those who hear us with the simple, pure New Testament truth. Only the truth will make a man free from sin (John 8:32). Only the truth will make one a servant of righteousness (Rom. 6:17). It is this same truth which shall judge us in the last day (John 12:48). With all of this evident, please tell me, how will souls be saved if they cannot even understand what the preacher is preaching? Remember, the best sermon one can preach are those where the Word of God is remembered and understood, but the preacher is faintly recalled.
I remember what an old sharecropper once told me, who also preached the gospel for more than 50 years: “Son, keep God’s Word so simple that even the most unlearned, yea, even a child can understand it.” No one profits from a meal that is not digestible, no matter how good it taste or artistically it is prepared. It’s the basic principle of K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)! Let us keep it as simple as possible, and in doing so we shall see souls ” . . . not unwise but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). God’s Word is simple. So, preach God’s simple word simply. If preachers keep this in mind, they do well.