(If you’re not familiar with John MacArthur, he’s was like the Bill O’Reilly of pastors during the 90’s).
It seemed that every time she saw me in the hallway she was sticking a John MacArthur sermon CD, book, study guide, or pamphlet in my hand.
“Pastor Brian, this teaching is so powerful. You MUST listen to/read this.”
I could tolerate all the MacArthur paraphernalia and the not-so-subtle hints about how shallow my sermons were, but the one thing I couldn’t stomach was the condescending way she used to talk about the new people who were coming to faith in our church.
“Pastor Brian, the baby Christians here aren’t quite where they need to be…”
“Pastor Brian, we need to get these baby Christians in the word…”
“Pastor Brian, have you seen those…”
I wanted to hurl every time I talked with her.
Here’s a simple fact: most Bible consuming Christians I’ve met over the years have been painfully arrogant.
No-one is as spiritual as they are.
They confuse Bible knowledge with spiritual maturity.
They’ve turned the study of scripture into a recreational hobby, as if the act of studying the Bible itself is what pleases God.
And worst of all, they’ve committed the most subtle form of idolatry of all – they’ve replaced the centrality of the risen Jesus in their life with a book that talks about the risen Jesus.
And then they look askance at anyone who dares to differ with them.
What pleases Jesus more?
A “baby Christian” who has never read Jesus’ command to be humble, yet is radically self-effacing?
Or the person who has memorized every verse in the Bible that talks about humility yet remains painfully arrogant?
I believe that Christians need to read the Bible every day. Five minutes a day. An hour a day. The length doesn’t matter, but the goal does.
We study the Bible not to simply know it, but to get to know it’s author and obey Him.
That’s a fine line of distinction, but an important one.