While talking with a couple of Christian leaders over pizza one day, one of them suggested to my wife and I that, “Some people know more Bible than they will ever use”. His point – at least, as I understood it – was that continued study of the Bible without doing something about it wasn’t beneficial.
Today, although this is several years removed from that day, I want to offer a couple of things for your consideration:
Do Some People Know Less Bible Than They Need?
As general knowledge about the Bible wanes in some populations (including my own culture), I fear that we have an increasing number of people who do not know more about the Bible than they will use.
Some don’t know about the Bible at all, or only know bits and pieces (but not enough to understand its larger message). Others may think that they know the Bible, but have just heard good-sounding phrases and sayings which may or may not actually appear in the Bible.
Even basic principles – like who God is, what He expects of us, or how He reached out to us and wants to help us – are new information to many in our world. Without being “preachy”, this simple information can be life-changing…if we just share it.
Here, the opportunity is simple. When you learn something from the Bible that applies to something that is going on – whether with you or with others – tell people about it. You don’t have to learn Hebrew or Greek, or have some sort of seminary degree, just to share what you’ve read. After all, no one expects you to have a journalism degree to talk about what you read online or in a newspaper.
Once we learn the truth, sharing what we’ve learned about Jesus shouldn’t be any more difficult than talking about a recent work project, ball game, or current event.
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
Romans 10:14-15 NLT
Can we know more about the Bible than we live out?
Imagine pulling up to the gas station when your low fuel light comes on, and filling up your car with gasoline. But, instead of stopping when you fill up, you brazenly ignore the “Do Not Top Off” sign, and keep pumping more gas into your car. The tank fills up, then it gets topped off, then it starts to drip out, and then it spills all over the ground. Eventually, you catch the attention of other drivers, who try to leave as quickly as possible, or catch the attention of the attendant, who hits the emergency shut-off switch and calls the fire department (and probably the police) while you continue to pump gas into your over-filled car.
How far did you get on that tank of gas? If the police are close enough, probably nowhere. You filled up on fuel, but didn’t use it to drive around and get somewhere.
Don’t get me wrong. We should fill up regularly with learning more about God – both who He is, and how He wants us to live. Top off your spiritual fuel tank – so to speak – with Bible reading, as often as you can. But then, be sure to use what you learn from your time in God’s Word to do some good for His kingdom.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to be called to sell your belongings and move to a far-away mission field. It might just mean taking on good habits of a Christian, like talking with God, reading His Word, and meeting with other Christians (both to invest in them, and to be enriched yourself). It might mean getting out and engaging with people who don’t love God (even though He loves them), serving them in Jesus’ name, and telling them about Him.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 NLT
Whichever of these may describe you (or even if you don’t fall into either of these categories), I hope that you read the Bible until you are impressed with its wisdom and guidance – and then, that you go out and experience the life that it teaches you about.
Fill up; then hit the road!
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.