Question: How many wise men came to visit Jesus in the manger?...wrong answer.
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The right answer is not three, oh and they met him in a house, not a manger. Oh, and a more accurate pronunciation of his name is “Yeshua”, I’m being extra now.
I’d like to address a sorry state of affairs we’ve found ourselves in. A state of biblical dumbness and in an age where knowledge and access to it abounds.
I’m speaking of biblical literacy. The knowledge and understanding of scriptures, the retention of God’s words, the deliberate meditation and study of Him through scripture.
I’m tired of debating if homosexuality is a sin, or if hell exists, or why you’re obviously not saved (not you of course...I hope). Basically just go and read it yourself.
Who should I blame for this perpetual primary school many who profess faith never graduate from? Perhaps it’s them and us system we’ve created. Where the clergy are expected to go to seminary and study whilst the laity pop into church every Sunday to be spoon fed the crumbs.
Surely you recognize the priesthood of all believers is a real thing (Read 1 Peter 2:5-9).
I can’t use up this entire article in lamentation, especially as I know I too need to up my scriptural study and understanding. But I will offer a few helpful thoughts on this matter.
It is important that as believers we read, study and meditate on the scriptures. I will expound on each of the three down below.
Tip 1: Read
Firstly just read, you don’t have to be in the mood, just commit to daily or frequent reading. Some in our fellowship add writing to this, they simply write chapters of scripture.
Tip 2: Study
Choose passages or even topics to study, this could be done within a group, a classroom a workshop. Here you take advantage of the many resources out there, you get your concordance, your bible dictionary etc, search google, go through recommended study series, sift between the meat and the bones. Invest your money and time.
Tip 3: Meditate
This is the most beautiful approach to scripture. You don’t only read, or academically study, but you deliberately think deeply about it in stillness. This is what the psalmist called ‘selah’... An inner meditation on the word and in the Word. Meditation is the key to the renewal of spirit, soul, and body (Proverbs 4:22).
Tip 4: Five-hour rule
Did you know Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett and many leaders all practice the 5-hour rule? The 5-hour rule is to consistently invest about an hour a day to deliberate learning. Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Imagine how much more wealthy we would be as a people if we all practiced this rule.
Tip 5: Don’t worship the bible
This is about attitude. You will never learn if you don't submit. Submission is the key to receiving from God or even any authority. Understanding scripture is not a matter of theory but of practice, hence why scripture says watch your ‘life and doctrine’. Every citizen in God’s kingdom must make themselves accountable. Pride is the biggest blocker and distorter of revelation. It leads to bold proclamations of personal revelation without inviting scrutiny and experience to contribute and refine.
You can be clever and biblically dumb at the same time. In my poem, “Christian robots are hard to fix” I call this persona type “Dr dogma”. Some in their intellectual knowledge of the Bible have become proud. Ironically turning into ‘bible worshippers’ (instead of God). They love theological debates and yet demonstrate few fruits of the Spirit. In some cases, they have altogether quenched the spirit in doctrine and replaced him with historical heroes and moral values.
Let’s remember in our pursuit to understand scripture we are seeking to understand God, to share in his mind and to be like Him. Let’s avoid the error the Pharisee made, they knew the scriptures back to front but with veiled eyes never saw the heart of God.
John 5:39-40. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.