"Study to show yourself approved..." 2 Cor. 2:15.
A recent Wall Street Journal article penned by columnist Peggy Noonan described her discouragement concerning a perceived superficiality in young politicians and journalists today.
"...They're bright and ambitious, but they've seen the movie and not read the book. They've heard the sound bite but not read the speech...They learn through sensations, not through books which demand something deeper from your brain...If you can't read deeply you will not be able to think deeply."
In her piece I saw parallels with the Church today. Research shows most Christians don't read the Bible. In addition, most high school seniors never read another book after graduation.
I'm a voracious reader so this is difficult for me to comprehend. However, I realize we're all hard-wired differently. You won't find me spending countless hours exploring the beauty and intricacies of math.
Christians are admonished to know first-hand what they believe. We're not to just take someone else's word for it, but we're to weigh the evidence and decide for ourselves.
My purpose isn't to guilt trip people into reading the Bible, but to encourage believers to go deeper than sound bite Christianity. It's possible to take a single scripture, camp out on it for several months and mine a treasure trove of riches from it. What you discover there is yours, not another person's revelation.
Maturing in the faith is more than just knowing what and why you believe. It is the progression of seeing the Bible not just as a rule book of do's and don'ts, but as the unfolding revelation of who God is. It is intimately engaging with the Word of God, Jesus.
The Corinthian church's spiritual foundation was what Paul taught them. They didn't have a Bible because it didn't exist. They, like other New Testament believers, were dependent primarily on their relationship with Christ personally for guidance and direction. We're inundated with resources they'd love to have had. Still, we're not necessarily appreciably wiser in the things of God than they.
Regarding our country (and this piece isn't about politics), Ms. Noonan quipped, "What ails American Democracy? Too much information and too little thought." This could also apply to the Church today; we just don't think. As a side note to Ms. Noonan,
is a republic, not a democracy.
How about you? Do you ever dissect a portion of scripture or study a theme and arrive at a different understanding than what's popularly taught? What are the benefits of drawing your own conclusions after careful thought and study? How, if at all, has the information age enhanced/detracted your relationship with God? What practical things can you do to avoid the shallows and experience a deeper relationship with God personally?
The Politics of the Shallows, Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, 1-2 October 2016