Thursday, November 16, 2006

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. Psalm 119:9

How well do you know the Bible?

Most Christians may say fairly well, and us pastors will say very well, but secretly we may be in fear that others will find out that we do not know His Word so well after all. Many of us may rationalize it, fake it or ignore it, but for some reason we do not make the efforts and diligence to really get to know it. Perhaps it is too much work for some, perhaps the fear factor is too high and it is easier to say yes, I know, basically lie, than actually get to know Christ and His Bible. Who am I talking about, me… the guy who started a international ministry teaching people how to study the Bible. Because when I first stated this endeavor, some 25 years ago, I was very biblically illiterate and faked my way through it. Bit I had some good mentors who called me on it, so I undertook the endeavor more seriously to get to know the Bible and found it is not so fearful and daunting as I thought. In fact it was fun and still is fun. But many of Christians and even some pastors are still in the dark with His Word.

I have to own up to some judgmental feelings I have from time to time with this.

When I give a seminar or consult with a church every now and then I am absolutely astounded by some pastors who lack basic Bible knowledge. Just the other day, a pastor at a very large church asked me if I heard of Caleb? I thought he must mean a person, so I am raking my mind who could he be talking about so I do not look dumb. Then he asked if it was in Genesis? It was one of those moments when my mouth opened but no words came out. I can understand why some Christians who may not know that Caleb was one of the original few people of the Exodus who was faithful and allowed to enter the Promise Land, found in Numbers and Deuteronomy, but a pastor who did not know? I can also at times understand when Christians say they do not have the time, or it is too hard to read the Bible, but pastors? Pastors, whose call and job is to proclaim the Word? I think we have a big problem with biblical literacy in America today. A lack of Bible Knowledge (and application you can’t apply what you do not know) will lead to very significant problems, such as a lost focus for the church locally and internationally or the spread of apostasy or false teachings, which we have, all of the above.

Now I have to say upfront that I did not end up knowing the Bible overnight, it took me many years, decades in fact. And when I first entered into ministry the only reason I knew who Caleb was is because I knew someone with that name. I was lazy with the Bible, figured it was more important to connect with the youth then learn His word or be disciple or make disciples. But, I had not been to seminary yet or had years of experience and time behind my belt as that pastor did. But I came to a point that I had to own up to my frailty in Bible literacy and buckle down and engage it. That pastor feels it is unimportant and irrelevant to his role as a pastor!

Many years ago my great uncle taught me the importance and relevance of knowing God’s Word. He kept me accountable and told me it does not come overnight or at ease it is a life long process and journey and it is hard work. There are no shortcuts to any important endeavor whether it is learning music or becoming a doctor or becoming a pastor or any skilled vocation or hobby. Undertaking something important is serious, it is commitment and it is hard work. At the same time I had great fears to know His Word. I felt I would not be able to do it, which is why I faked it. I had significant learning disabilities such as dyslexia and learning for me was a tough challenge. And with my uncle’s encouragement and suggestions I learned how to study and gather information. I even developed a process that works and is even fun that you can use too. In fact I have been teaching this in my seminars since the early 80’s to put people at ease, when exegetical and inductive methods seem to too daunting.


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