Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Going Deep

Our Assistant Director of Discipleship, Michael Andres, will be writing a guest post in response to the comments from my last post. In the meantime, here my latest column from The U's "Encourager."

Going Deep

I have finally finished my latest journey through the Bible. It has been a while since I have set out to read every book, every chapter, every verse. I have never been very good at reading straight through. So this time, I split it up and read some from multiple sections every day (for instance: Torah, Psalms, Prophets, Gospels, Letters.) This journey took me the entire fall and into January. And as usual, it left me feeling refreshed, inspired, focused, connected and completely ignorant. I am pretty sure that between readings God is adding thing to the text. I am a seminary trained student of the Bible. I read the Bible every day and every time I sit down to take a comprehensive trip through, I feel like I am being confronted by things I have never seen before. It is not surprising if you think about it. I mean, how much time do most of us spend searching the depths of the prophet Obadiah? How often do we ponder the narrative differences in the story of God’s people as told in Samuel and Kings vs. the way it is told in Chronicles? How many of us could say for sure if the following names are really in the Bible: Asahel, Eliahba, Eliphelet, Igal, Ithai, Mebunnai, Zalmon? (Actually all of them, spelled that way in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.) How much time do we dedicate to reading the Gospels and pondering their message? How much time do we spend comparing and contrasting each account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and wondering why God led the different Gospel writers to focus on different aspects of Jesus Christ?

It was Albert Einstein who said, “The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.” That is so true for me and my life with scripture. But much like the ever curious Einstein, my realized lack of knowledge draws me to want to know more and more. While I feel like my tiny little human brain will never be able to take in the full depth and breadth of what God offers to us in scripture, my love of God never wants to give up.

This quest for knowing is not just an academic exercise in Bible trivia; it is an act of loving the one who created us and gave us a written account of our life together.

When asked about the greatest commandment in the law, Jesus replies, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) Jesus calls us to be more than followers but matheteis – disciples, students, learners.

Mark Batterson, in his book Primal, A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity (Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2009) writes,

When you stop learning, you stop loving. Why? Because loving is learning more and more about the one you love. True love is never satisfied. It always wants to know more about the object of its affection. The more you love God, the more curious you become.

As we enter into the second portion of Season with the Savior, I encourage you to go deep, to engage your holy curiosity and learn more about the One you love and the One who loves you. While there are many ways to go deeper in our walk with God, let us focus, for a while on loving God with our mind through the study of scripture. During this second part of the series, That’s What the Man Said: The Key Teachings of Jesus, there are many opportunities to dig into the message of Jesus as found in scripture. You will find some of them laid out in this issue of The Encourager. But let me challenge you to a few very simple and clear steps. Through this series which goes through March 14, consider the following:

  • Buy a Bible if you don’t already have one that is specifically yours – The Word Store has a great selection of Bibles in all shapes and sizes.
  • Keep your Bible with you all the time – You will find that you have more time to read it than you think.
  • Bring your Bible worship every Sunday – Keep it open as we talk about scripture.
  • Memorize Scripture – We will offer scripture each week through the series along with hints and suggestions for memorizing scripture.

Maybe you are a lot further along in your journey than I am. Perhaps you have the Bible down pat. If so, consider the words of Harry Truman, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that really counts.” More importantly, remember the words of scripture, “Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge.” (1 Corinthians 8:2)

Blessings on your journey!


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