Pastor's Pondering


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It's Not Just What You Know

by Duane Mabee on April 14, 2023

People who have attended evangelical churches for very long have often learned a lot about the Bible and the Christian faith.  In our circles, the strength of a church is frequently gauged by the strength of its teaching ministry.  Discipleship basically means mastering the facts and learning the details.  The more obscure details you know the more mature you are thought to be.  You had better be able to name all the books of the Bible in order.  It’s embarrassing to use the table of contents to find one of the minor prophets.  Disciples often know how to pronounce certain Greek and Hebrew words and give a basic definition for them. 


All of that is well and good.  I believe in the importance of knowing the facts about the Bible and the Christian faith, but there is a downside to all that.  When it comes to your relationship with Jesus, it’s not about how much you know, it’s about what you do in response to what you know. 


Knowledge about the Bible and Christianity doesn’t save you.  It doesn’t conform you to the image of Christ, either.  The Pharisees knew more about the Bible than we will ever know.  They knew all the doctrines.  They not only knew all the books of the Old Testament in order, but they could also quote many of them from memory… entire books.  They could pronounce all the Hebrew and Greek words far better than we can, and they could give extensive definitions for them.  Yet all of their knowledge didn’t save them.  It didn’t sanctify them, either.  Jesus called them whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones.  He said they didn’t even know God the Father and were nothing like Him. 


Again, accurate Biblical knowledge is important.  The problem is that most of us are educated far beyond our level of sanctification.  We know way more than we are living.  We have stuffed far more knowledge into our heads than we are living out in our daily lives.  We can quote the beatitudes but have no idea what it means to be poor in spirit, nor are we actively trying to figure out how to be poor in spirit on a daily basis.  We know what Jesus said about picking up our cross and following Him, but we are more likely to dissect His metaphor grammatically than we are to try to figure out what cross bearing looks like at the office or in our family.  We may know 14 different ways to explain what it means to “fear the Lord”, but we don’t exhibit any fear of God in our lives.


Christ will hold us accountable for all that we know.  So, it may be better for us to focus on putting what we already know into practice in our daily lives than to continue to invest all our efforts into learning even more.  We are not saved or sanctified by how much we know.  When it comes to your relationship with Jesus, it’s not about how much you know, it’s about what you do in response to what you know.