Knowing Your Bible

Dear Reader,

The Christian Science Monitor has conducted a survey and reports that American protestants don’t know much about religion (take the test here). I am happy to report that I got the questions all correct though there were a few that I guessed on. Now I am not advocating ignorance about one’s religion or even the religions of others. But I also know that knowledge of the Bible does not equal faith. I have mentioned before in this blog that I studied biblical Hebrew at a graduate level. I did this for many years (10 or so) before dropping out ABD (all but dissertation). In that time I met many professors who really knew their Bible. And they were  not for the most part Christian. Most of those who studied the Bible itself (as opposed to linguistics or archaeology) were Jewish. They knew not just the Old Testament but also often the New very well. Better than I could hope to. But they did not believe in Jesus as Savior. Why is this? Shouldn’t this worry us? Well, not really. God tells us that only He, through His Spirit, can truly help us to understand what we are reading. One can have an awful lot of  biblical knowledge without having wisdom. Again, I am not advocating a lack of knowledge. I do think Christians should study their Bibles and learn as much as they can in their lives. But they should also not be intimidated by biblical scholars who know more than they. Too often I think we are put off by degrees. My dad was a professor (not Bible, another subject). There are a lot of graduate level degrees in my family, and trust me, they do not necessarily equal wiser or happier people.

I think of Psalm 119:99 in this context: “I have more understanding than all my teachers,for your testimonies are my meditation.”

A related experience I had was being in a Bible study in grad school with law students. These particular people were new Christians. They did not know as much of God yet though I believe their faith was sincere. But, boy, could they argue. They are probably great lawyers today. Often the rest of us found ourselves out-argued even though we knew we were right. Again, I think we all could benefit from learning how to defend and explain our faith better. But we should not be put off just because someone else argues better. It is okay I think when confronted with someone who seems to know more than you or to win the argument to say, “I will have to think about that and get back to you.” If they are really just interested in winning a point, they may not like this. But honestly, if this is the case they are probably not in a place where they can get what you are saying anyway. If they are interested in a serious exchange of ideas, then they should be happy to have you give it more thought and approach the subject again later.



3 responses to this post.

  1. I think some people say things with such an air of authority that it can be hard to question them. Often people who don’t know better assume they are right just because of the way they present their arguments. It can be hard to have a good discussion with people like that.


  2. God gave us big brains (the biggest) to be able to figure things out logically. Christ


  3. […] [This relates to my previous post on knowing the Bible. Read it here.] […]


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