But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Matthew 22:29
When my husband was in seminary in Dallas and in graduate school in Virginia, we were part of different small groups from our churches. We would sometimes be studying a passage of Scripture or a pertinent biblical topic. I rarely prepared by reading my Bible beforehand. I was always ready though with an answer and to share what I thought! This was based on what I had been taught or on my own logical interpretation of the subject in that moment, not from what I had studied on my own.
On the one hand, it was a great gift to have Christian education from Kindergarten through 12th grade. It shaped me in countless ways. I am forever grateful to those teachers for the love, stability, and truth given to me during those formative years. Senior Bible alone prepared me for a world in college that was in opposition to the Christian worldview I knew. Through their solid biblical teaching, I could stand unashamed for what I knew to be true.
On the other hand, I had so much knowledge, so much information, but it hadn’t made its way to transformation in my life. A lot of knowledge without that transformation can produce a prideful spirit, being puffed up in one’s thinking.
As the Lord graciously revealed Himself to me over the years—this through personal study of His Word, the Bible—I began to see that I actually didn’t have all the answers. Far from it. Reading and studying God’s Word is a humbling practice. When we approach God’s Word in prayer and in allowing His Spirit to speak to us through it, we begin to see God as He is and begin to know Him. It changes us and our thinking to bring it in line with what is true.
As I’ve watched our surrounding culture, I can’t help but wonder, especially for the Christian: do we know God’s Word and His power? Do we actually take time to read the Bible and pray? Perhaps we are doing what I did in those small groups years ago, depending on our personal human logic and common sense, rather than seeing what God has said.
If we do read the Bible, in what way do we approach it? Perhaps we look around us at the culture and try to find something in the Bible to match what we see and how we want to respond to these cultural issues. We can take verses out of their full context and adapt them to situations in our world, rather than seeing the situations of our world through the lens of God’s complete Word. In this way, we miss getting the robust, full picture of God’s Word. We neglect to interpret it in a cohesive and true way, the way in which it was written and is given to us. In so doing, we can begin to make God in our own image instead of being conformed to His image through the truth found in His Word.
We are living in a postmodern, relativistic culture that tells us we define our own truth: we can all believe different things. But there is truth to be found. We will find it in the Bible. But if we don’t open it and read it, with humility and prayer, with the Spirit guiding us, we will miss finding truth—and even be unaware that we are missing it!
- Read the Bible, asking God to lead you. Start with the Book of John or the Book of Mark, particularly good choices as we approach Easter.
- Attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church.
- Join a Bible study that studies God’s Word verse by verse.
- Encourage others to do the same with you.
Good Friday and Easter are coming soon. This is the centerpiece of our faith: Jesus who became man, lived a perfect life, was crucified for our sin, and is risen in glory. Why not plan now to invite friends to join you for Easter services at church and to worship the risen Christ who gave His life for you? And if knowing the Word has not been a priority for you, use this season as a new beginning of seeking God humbly through the Bible and prayer, asking for His help. He delights to give good gifts to His children and answers those who call upon Him in faith.