Nearly every week I see yet another advertisement from some church network on how to get my people more excited about growing spiritually or spending more time in the bible. 40 days of this and 90 days of that and several hundred dollars for all the files to reprint and I'm in business.
Call me silly but when did real bible study lose it’s ability to do these things? Consider these passages from scripture:
Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst.
(Isaiah 5:13 ESV)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me.
(Hosea 4:6a ESV)
These are just two verses that warn of impending problems when we get away from learning the Word of God. In churches today we are seeing more biblically illiterate people NOT because they necessarily want to be. We are seeing this because the leadership is trending away from the hard work of stressing real bible teaching because it’s not popular or trendy with our culture. People outside the church that we are trying to reach don’t understand the value of this practice for the very reason that they ARE outside the church. Encouraging people to dig into the bible itself and learn it’s precepts is not something that many people find appealing and for some, they will leave and go to a church that gives them more of what they want; messages that tend to be more about self-help with a little bible applied and little else.
There’s nothing wrong with tying life’s problems into our messages and giving people hope but as a pastor, my first priority is to infuse scripture into the lives of my congregation and allow them to see the application to their modern day existence. I do not want to be one of those “rejected” by God because I chose to avoid the hard work of teaching scripture. Teaching people to use tools like the Cross Reference Guide to the Bible so people can discover the bible’s own teachings is paramount in my ministry. It’s not popular because it doesn’t come with a fancy study guide, internet graphics, and it doesn’t sync with smart phones. What it does though is transform lives. THAT should be our focus. If current trends continue, our culture will drift listlessly into a sea of muddled theology and no biblical conviction. Let’s change that trend one person at a time.
I’d love to read your thoughts on this!