“I don’t believe you I’m getting a real bible.” The comment came from one of the parents at the high school small groups I was leading. I had just asked several questions about Jesus’ life to see how much information the students really new about the small intricacies of Jesus’ behavior. I had then elaborated on a very specific detail of Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple, there are two stories and in one Jesus sits down and makes a whip proving his anger and actions were premeditated, a fact many people overlook but which I’m always intrigued. She went and got her own King James Bible, read the story for herself, then looked at me and said “You’re right”. Of course I’m right, I thought to myself. I’ve read my Bible.
I’m constantly amazed at the number of “Christians” who know a handful of Bible verses to prove their narrow scope of beliefs, but have never read the Bible. It’s like claiming to be a surgeon, but all you’ve read are the CliffsNotes version of Anatomy and Physiology. How can you claim to be something and not study to know what it is?
Several years ago I wanted to understand Jesus and what he taught, so I spent 12 months studying the four gospels. Not studying commentaries, thesis’, etc. I simply read the four gospels over and over, in a different translation each time. Over the twelve months I read the gospels a total of 8 times. I didn’t want someone else telling me what was in the Bible anymore. I wanted to know for myself. And I don’t understand how so many people are willing to take someone elses word for it.
I’m disturbed every time I sit down with my youth group, the majority of whom go to a Christian School, and they have never heard the story or illustration I use directly from the Bible. Christian’s aren’t even doing a good job of teaching each other the Bible so how can we expect to teach it to those around us? I recently read a survey that showed that the average Atheist knows the Bible better than the average Christian. How sad is that? They’ve taken more time to understand what they don’t believe than what Christians say they do believe.
A Christian’s faith shouldn’t be determined by what the preacher says or Phillip Yancey put’s in a book about grace. Being Christian is more than your political stance and what radio station you listen to. Being a Christian has a responsibility to to “Study to show yourself approved” (2Tim 2:15). Not just approved to God, but also to a world filled with skepticism and doubt and knowledge is power.