I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of quality, biblical training in my lifetime. It started at an early age and continued formally as I went through graduate studies. I love studying the Bible and seeing what God has done and continues to do in our world. I love seeing something I’ve never seen before.
And while knowing the Bible is important, it also highlights another truth. The more Bible you know, the more accountable you are. James says it is sin to know what you ought to do and not do it. Knowledge divorced from proper application of that knowledge is not biblical. That kind of accountability is frightening. Thank God for his grace and kindness when I fail to do what I know I should do.
We live in a world of outrage. Any occurrence, no matter how small or insignificant, can be blown up into the hot topic of the day. Throw social media and blogs into the mix and anyone can have an opinion about anything at anytime.
Sometimes the outrage is genuine. Sometimes it’s just a way to vent. Venting can make us feel better. We can tell ourselves we actually care. But if that’s where we stop, if we never do anything about what we claim bothers us, then it’s really just faux outrage.
Hearing leads to doing. That’s the pattern seen over and over in Scripture. The law was read that Israel might hear and then do. David delighted in meditating on God’s law and in doing God’s law. Jesus said his followers would be blessed by hearing his words and putting them into practice. His brother James said the same thing. Hearing leads to doing.
If we stop at merely hearing, then we have not truly heard. And if we go straight to doing, we risk doing the wrong thing. Hearing leads to doing. Never divorce one from the other.
One of the hallmarks of conservative Evangelicalism is its commitment to interpret Scripture according to it’s plain meaning whenever possible. I believe in this hermeneutic and try to employ it during my own study. But I have a confession to make – I don’t often live by it. I don’t think I’m along either.
Have you thought about the implications of applying the Bible at face value? The call to holy living is undeniable. The standard it sets is unattainable. No one can consistently practice every command. Unless, of course, someone else is actually empowering and enabling you. Maybe we all need grace in measures beyond our wildest imaginations.