Just recently I finished reading a book with a group of my teens in our leadership committee. This book was different from other books I’ve read. It recounted the story of Jesus in a very efficient, yet riveting way. It portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer and miracle worker. It only took a couple weeks to finish it reading at a pace of a chapter per day, which is great for me since I’m a slow reader. I highlighted so many sections of this book and I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read that features a unique view of Jesus’ ministry. The book is The Gospel of Mark.
There are days when I find myself putting too much stock into how many books I read with spiritual topics outside of the Bible. Then I find myself noticing the Scriptures mentioned in these books and thinking, “I don’t remember that verse”, or “Where is that verse found?”, or “What is the context surrounding that verse?” How embarrassing! I’m a minister of the Gospel, I have degrees and a job title that say so. However, I still fail to discipline myself to be in His Word on a daily basis. Some of this comes from my arrogance and pride no doubt. I might say to myself something like… “At least I know more Bible than my teens…”. But in more cases than I’d like to admit i’m proven wrong in even that.
Now don’t get me wrong, secular and spiritual books can be very beneficial. They can change lives. But to substitute my daily Bible reading with these books is foolishness. One can never be too familiar with God’s Word. It’s funny that we always marvel at those who have memorized paragraphs of Scripture. Even in the movies, quoting Scripture is used to show the discipline and focus of a character (Sniper in Saving Private Ryan, Andy and the Warden in The Shawshank Redemption, Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, The Boondock Saints, and Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli). Memorizing Scripture is definitely Biblical and should be an esteemed practice. (Deut. 11:18, 2 Tim 3:16-17, Matthew 4:1-11) However, even in this we should not get carried away to the point of knowing what the Bible says and doing what it says.
Our youth are going through a DVD series right now put out by Francis Chan titled “BASIC” which has been a wonderful blessing. In it, he makes the point that following Jesus is very much about obedience to Him and how we often, as Jesus followers, try to find ways around that. In a sort of retelling of James 1:22, he tells the story of telling his daughter to clean her room and his daughter returning and saying, “I did really good, I memorized word for word what you told me to do! Aren’t you proud of me?” or saying “I got a group of my friends together and we’ve been analyzing your words and finding different interpretations and meanings hidden underneath those words on a weekly basis! Isn’t that great?” He says that as a father, of course he would be so disappointed that she failed to do the one thing those words were meant to do, put his daughter into obedient action.
Book knowledge is good, Bible knowledge is better, Bible obedience is paramount.
I’m obviously droning on now, not real sure there’s a coherent theme in this post… or blog. But it does me good to think these things through by typing them out. Hope it does some good for you too.