Monthly Archives: June 2012

Call in the Expert

One of my new favorite shows on TV is called Hollywood Treasure. It’s about a company that buys, sells and auctions movie memorabilia. I’ve seen everything on there from movie props and costumes to behind the scenes equipment. People pay big bucks too. I saw a Yoda puppet go for more money than I may ever have in my life! Occasionally on the show an individual will bring something in but won’t have any sort of documentation to prove that it’s authentic (like the Yoda puppet). In times like these, they call in the experts. Usually a person who specializes in that area will come in and take a look at the item to see whether it’s the real deal. The company buying the item can’t simply take the seller’s word for it. That would be way too risky.

There was a time in history in which individuals weren’t really allowed to read the Bible for themselves (most people at that time lacked the ability to read in the first place). Instead, they would simply have to listen to the priest/preacher who was teaching and take their word for it. In some cases, the Bibles were literally chained to the pulpit to keep the common man from reading it on his own.

Today, there are few “churches” that would try to persuade people not to read their Bible on their own (though I’m sure there may be some religious groups that do). However, we still have a large problem with individuals who simply take the word of another when it comes to reading and understanding God’s word. When faced with difficult questions about the Bible, far too many simply reply, “Let me ask my preacher,” or “let me check so-and-so’s commentary.” While there is nothing wrong with seeking the wisdom of another when it comes to the scriptures, there is a problem when we automatically take that person’s word for it instead of looking into God’s word on our own.

In Galatians 1, Paul warned the Galatians not to listen to those who were teaching things different than what they had originally been taught. The only way they would know how to do this is if they knew what they had been taught originally. The same warning goes for us. When we hear others talking about spiritual matters, we need to call in the expert. God is the only one that can determine whether something is truth or not. By looking at His word, we can know whether an individual is sharing the real deal or a fake.

On Hollywood Treasure, when the company is wrong about an item it can put them in a tough spot. If they put something into auction that turns out not to be authentic, they can have all sorts of problems on their hands. The dangers for us are even greater. We can’t afford to believe something is authentic truth if it’s not. Our consequences will not be monetary but eternal. Don’t take the risk. Call in the expert!

Learning to Love to Learn

As the husband of a teacher, I’m always learning something new. Last night my wife taught me things about the English language that I had never even heard of (like what a digraph is and that F, L and S are bonus letters). You would think I would have a better understanding of the language that I speak every day but I’m always learning.

After thinking about those things, I found myself wondering if it’s the same way with spiritual things. Am I learning something new every day? Or do I simply stay content with the knowledge that I already have? I would hope that each one of us looks for ways to grow in their knowledge of the scriptures every day. In fact, as my teacher Michael Hite would say, we should be those who love to learn. We should be those who desire to learn something new every day. In the New Testament we even read that Christ grew in wisdom (Luke 2:40). If Christ even had a need to grow in wisdom, how much more do we have that need? I can think of three easy ways that we can grow in our knowledge of God’s word every day.

First, spend time reading the Bible every day. In Scripture we’re told that the righteous man is he who spends time meditating on God’s word both day and night (Psalm 1:2). How can we expect to learn something new about God’s word every day if we aren’t spending time reading its pages? Imagine someone trying to become a doctor without ever opening a book on human anatomy or medicine. It’s just as crazy to think that we can grow as Christians without spending time in the Bible each day. And I know the excuse too. “I just don’t have the time.” I know the excuse because I’ve tried to use it before. The truth is, that statement is simply a lie. It’s not that we don’t have time. We simply don’t want to give up the time that we have for that purpose. Do you eat breakfast in the morning? Read a chapter while you eat. Do you drive to work each day? There are plenty of smart phone apps that allow you to listen to Bible audio for free. Usually it’s even easier for us to make time if we’ll try. We may just have to give up one of the dozen television shows we watch during the week.

Second, spend time reading other spiritual books, articles, blogs, etc. Obviously since you are reading this blog you are already doing this to some extent. If we truly love to learn about God’s word, we’re going to want to read things that talk about it. Even Paul told Timothy to bring his books (2 Timothy 4:13). Paul was a reader too. Now, if you are one of those individuals who struggle to even find time to read the Bible during the day, this may be something that you have to build towards. However, once you get into the habit of reading, hopefully it will become something you enjoy and you’ll want to do it more frequently. One word of caution: we need to remember that these books, articles, etc. were all written by people. For that reason, we can’t simply believe everything that we read. Any time we are reading something with a religious tone we need to make sure it doesn’t teach something that stands opposed to God’s word. As long as we do that, reading other spiritual books can be a great way to learn each day.

Finally, take advantage of the opportunities that your local congregation offers each week to learn. Look at the first Christians in Acts 2:46. Every day they were in the temple so that they could continue to grow in knowledge. Just by reading the end of that chapter you can sense that those Christians wouldn’t miss an opportunity to learn. Now, you can spend all day with a person arguing whether or not we are required to be at Bible class on Sunday morning or Wednesday night. My question is, if we are those who love to learn about God’s word, why would we want to miss? Whether it’s weekly Bible class, a special seminar or some other opportunity to learn during the week, why would we not want to be there? Chances are that if we are consistently missing those opportunities, we’re really not interested in learning. We may even just be trying to do the bare minimum. That may not be the case for every person but if we only ever gather with other Christians on Sunday morning for worship, we need to carefully examine the reasons why. The reason just may be that we haven’t grown to the point where we love to learn about God’s word.

I hope that we can all become those that love to learn, especially when it comes to learning about God’s word. Developing an attitude like that will help us grow and develop our faith in great ways. This week, look for ways that you can grow in your knowledge of God’s word every day.