When we define a “good church” as one that teaches the Word of God, we’re not thinking biblically.
And if we equate a maturing disciple with someone who knows their Bible, we’re not listening to Jesus. Discipleship begins with knowing what the Bible teaches, but until the Word of God is being used by the Spirit to change us, we’re not on the path of discipleship.
Information about God is good, but it’s not enough to lead you and me to the abundant life Jesus wants to give us. Only when we allow the information about God to teach our hearts will we experience the transformation of our lives vitally necessary to experience the abundant life.
I was teaching a college group with a young man whose father, a renowned bible-scholar and pastor had fallen. I knew his father’s story, so when I asked how he was doing he asked, “How do you explain my parents getting a divorce after almost 30 years of marriage? How do you explain my dad’s moral failures? I’ve been told all my life that my dad is one of the greatest bible teachers and he’s always been a respected leader and pastor. He’s one of the most dedicated students of Scripture—I have watched him pour hours into the study of God’s Word and heard him teach the truth of the Bible. My mom and dad have been to the best Christian counselors…but still…he’s not repenting; he’s moving in with this girl, and their marriage seems over.”
I turned him to a number of Scriptures trying to explain his dad’s failure to walk with Christ and I think it helped him some. I only wish that I had preached the book of Proverbs years ago, because if ever there was a passage in the Bible that explains his dad, it’s Proverbs 9:
- Solomon describes the rival feasts of wisdom and folly in conspicuously symmetrical but arrestingly contrasting terms (9:1-6; 13-18).
- In between the description of the two feasts (vv 7-12) is the determining factor that exposes the reason we as conservative Christians struggle with someone like this young man’s father: We have a tendency to misidentify how to stay on the path to wisdom. Because we are so dedicated to the Bible, we tend to confuse information with transformation. It’s not the amount of God’s wisdom we know that keeps you and me on the path to wisdom; it’s the amount of God’s wisdom we listen to and learn from that keeps us on the path to wisdom.
Christianity is not about information, it’s about transformation.
My assignment from the Lord Jesus isn’t to be studious, it’s to remain teachable.
Information is not the same as transformation, and never, the same as spiritual maturity.
Question: What causes a believer who loves to study the Bible to become unteachable?