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Bible Comment: we know the verses




We know the verses—

Christianity is a person centered religion.

The Pharisees could answer any Scriptural question
but they did not know the Lord.

WE know the verses, but do we know the master? Christianity is a person centered religion. We are called “Christians ” because Jesus the Christ is the center of our life. Knowing Jesus is more than being a good theologian. The verses are important —but important because of who gave them. “Jesus said…” “The apostle of Jesus said…” is what makes the verses critical. Christians aim at being in his image — which demands that we keep him at the center of our focus and that we know him —as well as the verses.

We know the interpretation, but do we know the practice? It is great to work on hermeneutics—the rules of Bible interpretation. We must know the meaning of scripture, but that is critical because we aim at doing what the scriptures teach. Understanding is important only to enable us to do. What possible benefit is there in understanding if it does not translate into how we live.

We know the arguments, but do we know the attitudes? We are good at arguments. Attitudes, however, often suffer. We will hardly win an argument with God no matter how well we argue, and we will never argue our way into heaven! God looks on the heart; he sees our pride. It will not recommend us to God. We may win all our arguments —with all our arrogance and harshness and meanness, but then we have really lost the war.

We know doctrine, but do we know the character. Character is what we are —really are —what we are in the dark. Doctrine is vital because it teaches us what we must “be.” If we “learn ” without “becoming” we miss the boat! Paul declares that “love ”(a sense of values) is the more excellent part(1Cor.12:31-13:13). It is more excellent than the most impressive miraculous gift; it is more excellent than simple doctrine. Love (character) is where God’s doctrine has remolded our very being. It is where we reflect God’s image. It is what makes us the inheritance God wants — “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph.1:18) —His “holy nation, His own special people” (1Pet.2:9). We are not God’s people simply because we have a baptismal certificate or know the truth, but because we are becoming in character a special kind of people.

We know references but do we know true spiritual values. It is one thing to recall book, chapter, and verse; keeping good values in place is something else. We know references, but still “lay up treasures on earth.” We are scholars of the Book, yet materialists who fret and “worry, saying, What shall we eat? ? or ‘What shall we drink? ? or What shall we wear? ” We freely quote the Book and yet “worry about tomorrow ” just like the heathens. We recite passages but do not “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” We examine passages but do not trust God’s promise: “all these things shall be added to you ”(Mt.6:19-). We are like Solomon who knew wisdom but never grasped spirituality —lasting values.

We know rituals but do we know worship of God. We know —having carefully examined scriptures— when, where, and how we should approach God in worship. We never deviate from those right things. And that is good —in fact, absolutely necessary. However, assemblies really become worship only when reverence for God is expressed, when a thankful heart prays, when awe struck people lift up and praise the name of God. Then —and only then are the assemblies of Christians worship.

The Pharisees also knew the scriptures, but they did not know the right way. They could answer any scriptural question, but they did not know the Lord. Jesus called them hypocrites(Mt.23:13-29) and a “brood of vipers !”(Mt.12:34). If all we know are the verses, the doctrine, the arguments, the rituals, how are we better than they? It may well be time to worry a bit.

Bible Comments, 35, a publication by Joe Fitch originally intended for distribution among small congregations in Texas.
Used here by kind permission.

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