After confessing my faith to my Director, I was asked not to return. From there I continued my journey of learning and unlearning. Unfortunately, my mindset was a mix of trying to prove things for myself while also looking for a "system" I could join.
My first experiences as part of a Christian community was through Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at the university where I worked. I then went through the Charismatic movement to A form of Calvinistic legalism, and on from there. At no point did I fully claim or embrace any denomination. As noted, I was in the in-between world of self-responsibility and a desire to claim a formal community.
It was not until 12 years into my journey that I discovered the words of E.W. Bullinger in the conclusion of his book "How To Enjoy the Bible":
All Bible study must in the end be individual. As with ordinary bodily food: others may prepare the food and serve it up in various forms: they may cook it in more senses than one: they may present it in "made dishes": they may carve it, and cut it up, and even put it in the mouth, as with babes; but, after all, there is no more that they can do. They cannot eat it or digest it for us; they cannot assimilate it for us; even so it is with the spiritual food of the Word of God.
Notwithstanding all that has been said in the foregoing pages, the great necessity remains: the work of Bible study must be, to the end, intensely personal and individual.
Each one must look out the reference for himself. He must trace the words through all their occurrences where these are given; he must consider their usages; he must read the contexts; he must make his lists and tables, and do his countings for himself: for so only can he feed upon the Word and the words, and be nourished, and be strengthened himself, and grow thereby: so only will he be able to say with Jeremiah: "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; And thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart."
To this day, I continue to grow and study and "mark things that differ." As I look back over some of these posts over the last couple of years, I see studies for which I now feel as though I have greater insight. What was somewhat foggy is slightly more clear. What I had to use what I understood to tray to explain a passage is now more refined.
Never rest. Continue to build upon a sure foundation. Compare scripture with scripture, rightly divide the Word of Truth, and trust no man as your authority.
I will never forget the old pastor with whom I exchanged posts who told me he hadn't wrestled with any verse in scripture since leaving seminary 58 years before. Sad. He was handed an answer key (as I was when I was educated in the Roman Church) and never questioned it.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. -2 Tim 2:15When the day comes in which we stand before the Lord, there are some who will be "ashamed." We need to work to be sure we are not counted in that number.