In today’s postmodern world the Bible is obsolete to unbelievers – and why shouldn’t it be? God’s work through Christ’s on the cross is “foolishness to the perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18) so it’s not surprising that His word isn’t taken seriously either.
But what about the millions of Christians who can no more wield the Sword of Truth than an infant can cut their own steak? It’s one thing for rejecters of Christ to come up blank when it comes to the Bible, but for Christians the standard can be nothing less than a growing ability to use what God has graciously given.
So ask yourself, do you exercise the discipline of a growing bible-swordsman or bible-swordswoman? Or do you stumble and stammer on, posing no real threat for darkness?
Christian, you’re loved, you’re saved, and life is tough…but it’s time to face the hard truth. You need to overcome your lackluster faith and workout those weak biblical muscles. You need to ditch denial and admit that you are useless in the spiritual fight against sin without the ability to use your Bible. You’re a sitting duck! Yet, you live each day with indifference to the dust that dawns the cover of your Sword. What trouble could be so unnerving to keep you from the Prince of Peace? What excuse could be so validating that the very breath of God is not deserving of your utmost affection?
7 Signs You’re Faking It
We’ve all pretended to know that one verse so-and-so said, or blurted out some random thought when asked how our “quiet time” went this morning…but fake-it-till-you-make-it doesn’t work when it comes to the Bible. Sometimes you just need to sift through the rubble of your bad habits and face the facts. To help you do so, here are 7 habitual tendencies that will enable you to identify if you have been faking Bible knowledge:
- You share a lot of personal stories to relate to people but leave out scripture.
- You say, “I think” and “I feel” a lot but rarely make an objective point by using scripture.
- You argue with your pastor based on what you’ve heard or been taught – never what you studied.
- You prescribe words and actions to God that He Himself doesn’t say or do.
- You assume because you listened to the Sunday sermon you’re ready for the week.
- You consider radio preaching on your commute your daily dose of God’s word.
- You quote authors and mega church pastors but can’t quote memorized verses in context.
If that list struck a nerve, made you nod, or convicted you – you’re guilty. That’s not a bad thing. Guilt caused you to repent when you first realize your sin was separating you from God, guilt caused you to apologize to your wife after that crude remark, and guilt should drive you back to the basics of your faith – God’s word. Guilt is good. Now it’s time to get on to the good news.
Big Bible Benefits
Much like the gospel message, guilt of sin preludes hope in Christ, and hope in Christ causes us to rejoice! God has not left you to wallow in your biblically illiterate misery or be a casualty of spiritual warfare due to a lackluster Christian life. His word is powerful, life-changing, and not difficult to understand if you will use it. Across the scriptures God’s people turned to His word for strength and for answers because it lasts forever (Isaiah 40:8). In the longest chapter of the Bible the author of Psalm 119 lists numerous benefits concerning God’s law. With the entire Old and New Testaments in your hands, how much more of a blessing is the the complete Canon? All scripture is beneficial for you today! Here are just a few from that glorious Psalm:
- Blessings for those who keep the word (Psalm 119:1-2)
- Protects from sin (Psalm 119:11)
- Revives the weary soul (Psalm 119:25)
- Pours out lovingkindness and salvation (Psalm 119:41)
- Alleviates heavy burdens and gives strength (Psalm 119:28)
- Guidance for direction in life (Psalm 119:105)
- Gives you joy (Psalm 119:111)
- Gives great peace (Psalm 119:165)
- Gives wisdom to the simple minded (Psalm 119:130)
Dust Off Your Sword
It’s not breaking news that Christians who are weak with their Bible are easy targets for our enemy. But let’s be honest, life is busy and full of really tempting distractions that cause us to find false security in things other than our use of the Bible. That’s Satan’s age old strategy – undermine God’s word.
So how do you wise up and stir up a passion to wield your sword? Here are 7 decisions that will lead to you in the right direction:
- Confess you’re biblically illiterate and ask God to stir a hunger in your heart for the Word.
- Tell your spouse, your pastor, and/or small group leader that you’ve been faking it – get accountable, get prayer, and get going.
- Make it your morning priority. Start the coffee, sit down at the kitchen table, and read your Bible.
- Write down one key takeaway from your morning reading and use it throughout the day.
- Memorize verses, write them on index cards, and quote them throughout the day.
- Join a small group and plan to use your Bible knowledge to support and encourage others. Being useful to family in Christ is a great motivator, and a biblical one.
- Stop skipping the sermon. If you’re blessed with a Bible-teaching expositor in the pulpit, fill the pew every chance you can get. This doesn’t replace your own use of the Bible, it sharpens it.
Recommended Reading List
Yes, I know…fewer and fewer Christians regularly read books because of claims to be very busy in these modern times. I’d put my money on the fact that there are simply more foolish decisions in our planning and more fools in the world than ever before. Proverbs 1:7 says, “…Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” It’s logical that reading decreases as the population of fools increases.
For those of you who are willing to discipline yourself the old fashioned way in order to acquire wisdom (Proverbs 4:7), here is a list of easy-to-read books that will take you to the next level:
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin – I’ve got manly friends who say this book should be called, “People of the Word.” It’s loaded with great tools that are not just for women… so men who are shy about the title can read it [secretly] and learn a great deal.
How to Study the Bible by John MacArthur – Short, sweet, and to the point. It’s a small book with big benefits.
The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung – Your problem with reading the Bible may actually be a problem with sin. You can do and say all the right things on the outside, but if you’re not pursuing holiness on the inside then you’re better off starting with this first step of facing your habitual sin.
A Study Bible – If you’re new to using the Bible or looking for a way to grow, a “Study Bible” contains footnotes from trusted commentators so you can understand the passages you’re reading.
Here’s to wielding the sword more like you were meant to, and standing firm in the faith (Ephesians 6:10-18).