Why Is it So Easy to Be Careless with My Bible Study?- Victorious Living- Part Three
February 19, 2020
The Modern Pilgrim’s Journey #7 Pilgrim realizes he’s neglected to study his guidebook
Pilgrim stopped, confused before a complex eight-point crossing. Which path to choose? Through one of the meadows? Up the mountain? Down into a valley? He pulled out his guidebook to search for directions.
First, he struggled to find the right section. He couldn’t remember the order of the book, which he memorized in 5th grade. Shame burned in his cheeks. He remembered the Good Shepherd’s instructions to study his guidebook every day. He looked over his shoulder. Good. No witnesses.
Finally, he found the right pages about eight-point intersections. He read the directions, but the words made no sense. A few pages back he found six-point instructions but still struggled to comprehend. Eventually, he landed on the page for a simple four-point junction and understood the directions. But what good did that do him at this crossing?
Ever come up short in a conversation where someone is questioning your beliefs as a Christian?
How do you know that God even exists?
Why do you say homosexuality is wrong?
How can you believe a loving God would send people to hell?
What about all those contradictions in the Bible?
I think that my knowledge of Bible facts and stories was pretty good, but I lacked wisdom- the ability to apply truth to life. Especially the deeper questions of life. Just like Pilgrim, I understood only the elementary stuff of the Bible.
What’s the use of a map if you don’t understand the legend? An instruction manual in a foreign language? Sadly, I think many of us are in that exact predicament with our Bibles. We are familiar with the stories and foundational truths about sin and salvation, but those basics won’t answer the questions above. When I hunkered down into Bible study, that changed for me.
Many people in the body of Christ don’t know how to express their beliefs about the doctrine and principles of the Word. Fine, if you’re a young believer. Not great for everyone else. I still think I’m way behind where I would be, if I’d taken Bible study seriously at a younger age. Although, I’ve been a God follower for sixty years, I believe my Biblical understanding and insight to be much younger than that, and I’m a pastor’s wife for Pete’s sake. Shouldn’t I know better?
The 21st century church in the Western hemisphere, is without excuse for Biblical illiteracy. Not enough of us consistently spend the brain power it takes to understand the deeper wisdom and insights in our guidebook. We can tell the story of Jonah and the big fish, but can we explain the deeper truth of the book, that it is a contrast between human nature and God’s nature? A contrast between judgement and grace? This stuff matters to a world that happens to be in desperate need of grace.
Consider all the advantages and tools we are given over people even a hundred years ago or today in underdeveloped countries.
Thousands of engaging Bible study books
Technology that allows us to flip from translations easily
Technology to access commentaries and writings from great spiritual minds
Numerous Bible reading plans
Freedom to use all this with no recrimination
If we don’t know what to do at an eight-point crossing, the fault is ours. God makes what we need to know so available. The choice to know is ours. How many of us can share the plot developments of our favorite TV show? How many of us can trace one of the main themes of the Bible, like love and redemption all the way through the Old and New Testaments? That stuff matters when you’re conversing with an unbeliever who claims a loving God wouldn’t do this that or the other.
The more I study the Bible, the more I realize how little I know.
The more I study the Bible, the more excited I am about the treasures I find.
The more I study the Bible, the less I fall into old sin patterns.
The more I study the Bible the more confident I feel about how to handle complex people and situations.
I think we forget that the Bible is a supernatural book. In Hebrews 4:12, the Apostle Paul tells us it’s alive. No other writing in existence can claim this. When we plunge our hearts and minds into the living Word of God, supernatural things happen in us and around us. Things we cannot do on our own, in the natural.
Ralph Drollinger, director of Capital Ministries (an outreach to elected officials in Washington D.C.) lists fifteen benefits of consistent Bible study.
Assures us of our salvation- Romans 10:17
Teaches us-2 Timothy 3:16-17
Guides us- Psalm 199:105
Counsels us- Psalm 199:98
Restores us- Psalm 19:7
Warns us- Psalm 19:11
Nourishes us- 1 Peter 2:2, I Timothy 4:6
Judges us-Hebrews 4:12
Sanctifies us- John 17:17
Frees us-John 8:31
Enriches us-Colossians 3:16
Protects us-Psalm 91
Strengthens us-Psalm 119:28
Emboldens us- Psalm 199:23
Stabilizes us- Psalm 1:3
I’ve paid top dollar for skin creams that offer a lot less. Why is it so easy to be careless with the Bible?
Turn off the TV.
Put down your phone.
Shut off the Nintendo.
Open your Bible.
The moral and spiritual complexities confronting the body of Christ in the 21st century cannot be successfully navigated by folks still in Bible elementary school. What steps will you take to graduate up to the next grade? What are you willing to do to get ready for those moments when the hardball questions about life and death are coming at you fast?
Check out my Facebook page this week and next for resources and tools that can blow fresh wind and fire over your spirit and rekindle your love for the Word.