For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.Romans 15:4
There are principally two forms of historical record; inspired history and uninspired history. Inspired history are the records that God has directly recorded and preserved in the Scriptures of truth. Inspired history concluded when the canon of revelation was closed with the passing of the apostolic era. Uninspired history are accounts that man has recorded. Uninspired history can be investigated through the reading of past records or by examining the archeological data of the period.
There are clear differences between the two forms of history. Inspired history is without error because God’s Word is truth. Uninspired history is open to discrepancy, however, either as a result of the human error or by a false interpretation of the facts. Stories are embellished, deceits creep in and with the passage of time the truth becomes distorted out of all recognition. The challenge facing the historian is to peel back the layers of opinion and third party information in order to find the source material; even then the truth is evasive.
Inspired history, however, as the original recording of facts sets forth the pattern which aids us in understanding the histories that men produce. The subject material is the same; the mighty acts of God as the author of all history. The lessons are similar also, in that history is given and preserved for our learning.
A perusal of the past shows us the path, the journey that humanity is on. A traveller must be aware of where he came from in order that he might plot a course for his destination. Likewise, the society which fails to learn from the past, is without identity, aimless and directionless. This is true of families, nations, the world but it is especially true of the Church. We do not exist in a void, making our own way through the world. We are on the same journey that our ancestors trod before us; only the section of the road is different. In going forward we must look backwards in order that we might have patience, comfort and hope.
O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be thou our guide while troubles last,
And our eternal home!