I’ve noticed a new trend over the last few months up to a year now. This trend is perniciously creeping in, taking root, being accepted and touted by many who profess to be Christians. What is this trend? Professing believers who are deriding other believers for knowing and sharing scripture.
Why would a believer do such a thing? Mock another believer for studying and knowing scripture? A guilty conscience, perhaps? Is it because they (those who are mocking) are not studying scripture themselves? Or is it something even worse than that?
The first time I saw this, I thought it was just a believer with a guilty conscience, possibly ashamed because they, themselves, didn’t take time to study God’s word. But then I noticed the trend, and I fear it goes deeper than that. It may not be for shame that they mock, but for another reason altogether.
Here are the conversations I’ve witnessed happen: A believer will quote several Bible verses (and/or an article which quotes much scripture); often times these deal with eschatology (of late). The new trend is this: A professing believer saying something like this to the believer who quoted scripture: “Well, it’s not about how well we know scripture, but how well we know Jesus.”
To that question my answer would be this: How can anyone know Jesus (beyond salvation alone) if they don’t study His word? Who HE says He is? Whom His word foretold Him to be? Whom His word reveals Him to be?
If it’s about a personal relationship with Jesus, how can one get to know Him without His word?
Are they making up a Jesus who doesn’t exist? One whom they feel more comfortable with? One they can try to bring down to our human (corruptible) level?
The next statement is usually this: “I know Him because I pray to Him daily.” Yes, we can and should pray daily (or more often), and we should take our concerns to the Lord. His word even tells us how to do so:
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil.4:6-7 KJV).
His word assures us that Jesus will give us peace in our hearts and minds when we pray with both thanksgiving (thank Him for all He has done) and with supplication (humbly and earnestly asking Him to provide for a particular need or needs – not just for ourselves, but for others as well – only according to His will, not our own will).
The Lord does already know our needs. He already knows all about us; He’s known us since before we were conceived (Jer.1:5). Yes, the Lord does know us, but do we know Him? And how can we know Him without studying His word?
There are those who merely just pick through the Psalms and other books of the Bible for ‘comfort me’ verses. How does that help a person get to know the Lord well? Yes, the Lord truly is the God of all comfort (2 Cor.1:3-4 and others), but He is so much MORE. How can we know Him without knowing His word? All of His word, not just the ear-pleasing, ego-stroking, comfort-evoking words.
Is the Lord just a comforting God? Only a loving God? Is Christ merely the meek, suffering servant who came to pay for the sins of the world? OR is He so much more? He truly is much more than that! Jesus is also the Lion from the tribe of Judah who is coming back in “righteousness to judge and make war” (Rev.19:11). His vesture will be dipped in blood (Rev.19:13), and it won’t be His blood this time!
“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev.19:15).
Do these professing believers who mock those of us who study God’s word even KNOW what Jesus revealed in scripture? Do they know what’s to come? Or have they accepted Christ as ‘hell insurance’?
This new, pernicious trend reminds me of the Oprah Winfrey belief system. She said she heard God is jealous and vengeful (in a sermon) and she decided she “didn’t LIKE that kind of God.” So she made her OWN idea up of a false “god” who she wanted God to be, rather than who He truly is.
There are a lot of people walking around today claiming to be Christians, and yet they don’t know the Lord at all. There are righteous and holy reasons that God is jealous (for His people; He didn’t want them polluted with idolatry and other sinful practices which lead to generational unbelief and hell). And He is vengeful (of unrighteousness) as well. God is a JUST and righteous God whose very nature cannot allow for sin to go unpunished.
This is the very reason He sent His only begotten Son. Jesus paid for it all, and believing on His finished work (His death, burial, and resurrection) paid for our ALL of our sins when we trust in Him for salvation (1 Cor.15:1-4, John 3:16-18, Rom.10:9-13, et al).
There is no other way (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).
We cannot ‘help’ or earn salvation with good works (Eph.2:8-9).
In fact, Jesus is the only acceptable payment for our sins. He is the only propitiation which could ever satisfy God’s righteous dealing with sin (Rom.3:25, 1 John 4:10). And yes, sin MUST be dealt with because we are ALL sinners in need of a savior (Rom.3:23, Rom.5:12, 1 John 1:6-10).
But I guess Oprah (and her ilk) didn’t sit in the church pew long enough to hear about that…and she sure didn’t study His word herself to find out why God would be either jealous or vengeful, and to whom.
I wonder what she (and others with similar erroneous beliefs) will feel when she realizes (as she appears before the great white throne) that Jesus did all the work. He even paid for her sins… but she rejected Him because she thought she could make up a false ‘god’ that better suited her? One that didn’t care about sin? An unrighteous false ‘god’ who would just overlook sin?
How sad that so many are relying on their own ‘righteousness’ rather than submitting to God’s righteousness, whose righteous requirements we can never meet ourselves without Christ Jesus (Isaiah 64:6, Rom.10:3, Phil.3:9, Rom.3:23).
Why is it so important that we know scripture? We need to (at bare minimum) know the gospel. How can we give the gospel to the lost if we (ourselves) don’t know where to find it in scripture? What if we gave them the wrong information, or even a false gospel? (Gal.1:8-9.) How can we have an answer ready for those who may ask us, if we don’t know His word?
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet.3:15).
Are they not ashamed that they don’t take time to study God’s word? There are many who only study the ‘comfort me’ and ‘help me’ verses. But what of scripture which convicts of sin? What of eschatology? Do they blame it on pastors who are not teaching it?
Yes, pastors should be teaching the entire Bible, the entire counsel of God – including prophecy, especially today as we witness the Biblically prophetic alignment of Isaiah 17, Ezekiel 38-39, and so many events foretold to come in the tribulation (after the rapture). Many in congregations are hungry for sermons on these topics today. Yes, it is a shame that so few pastors are teaching eschatology. But that does not relieve us of our own obligation to study God’s word ourselves!
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim.2:15).
Notice that scripture gives us an individual call to study God’s word ourselves.
Yes, if you have a good, doctrinally sound pastor who teaches the Bible, count yourself blessed and attend regularly. Yes, fellowship with other believers, especially now as we “see the day approaching” (Heb.10:25).
Both of those things can be an excellent means of growth in our Christian lives. But if a person truly desires to please the Lord and desires growth in Christ, they will study His word. And they certainly won’t be mocking or deriding other believers who do study the Bible, even (and especially) if they, themselves, are individually too lazy or complacent to do so!
What makes me sad is that so few believers are studying Bible scripture (eschatology or otherwise) on their own. I could muster up more sympathy for them if it were not for the fact that they could easily alleviate their ignorance by studying; but they are too consumed with the cares of this world to do so.
In persecuted nations around the globe, there are believers who are truly hungry for God’s word. In nations such as N. Korea and many Islamic nations (and others), they can be thrown into prison, beaten, brutalized, and even killed for owning a Bible!
And here we are in the US (and many other Western nations) with Bibles collecting dust, with a hundred different ways to access God’s word… in print, in apps, in computer programs, online, searchable, audio, Braille, even free-to-use lexicons with Hebrew and Greek word meanings, should a believer desire to delve deep. Yet so few are studying His word here in nations where there is no true persecution (no risk to life and limb) should we desire to study scripture.
Is it the ‘everybody gets a trophy’ culture (whether they deserved it or not) that gives rise to this? Do they not comprehend the rewards and loss of rewards at the judgment seat of Christ? Is it the lack of shame? Or is it even worse? Is there no fear of God at all? No desire to please Him or serve Him?
It may be one, or a combination of those things. But from what I’ve witnessed lately, this new trend seems to come predominantly from those who just don’t BELIEVE the Bible. They claim to believe the gospel (although most of them can’t tell you what the gospel is), but then cast out the rest of scripture.
It is very true that we who have believed on Christ for salvation are eternally secure (2 Tim.1:12, Eph.1:12-14, John 10:28-30, 1 John 5:13, John 14:16, Heb.13:5, 1 Pet.1:3-4, Eph.4:30, and many others). While nothing can ‘un-save’ us, is salvation all we desire? Mere ‘hell insurance’?
Do we not want to know the Lord as much as we possibly can? He reveals Himself to us in His word. Why would a believer not have a true hunger and thirst for at least the sincere milk of His word? (1 Pet.2:2). And once graduated from that, then have the strong desire for meatier topics in scripture? (Heb.5:12, 1 Cor.3:2).
And my question today is not just those two (milk and meat of scripture), but also WHY would a professing believer mock and deride those who DO study and/or know God’s word well?
I often times think that those who are distressed by those of us who do share scripture often perceived it (erroneously) as a pride problem. They think that those of us who are sharing scripture with them are only doing so to ‘show off’, or to lord it over them. I can’t speak for other believers when I share scripture with others, but I can speak for myself when I say that I certainly don’t share God’s word to ‘show off’. In fact, it’s not MY word; it’s GOD’s word I’m sharing. I can’t take any credit for it at all.
Thankfully, He also leads and guides us in His word with the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). And without salvation in Christ, NONE of us could ‘get it’ at all! (1 Cor.2:14.)
He gives us wisdom (James 1:5-8).
So again, it’s all to His credit. We have nothing to glory of; it’s His word. His wisdom. His Holy Spirit given to us. So the false accusations – that we share God’s word because we are prideful that we know His word well enough to share it – don’t hold water. It doesn’t glorify those of us sharing the Bible, it glorifies Him. It’s HIS word!
On the other hand: spiritual discernment doesn’t mean we are going to comprehend scripture by mere osmosis…we can’t just sleep with the Bible under our pillow at night and expect to absorb and comprehend it. No, we need to study His word (2 Tim.2:15) as we are told to do. He will give us lots of help and discernment, but we first must be willing to put the time in to study! Often times this means we need to study repetitively to memorize or at least become familiar with where certain topics are in scripture.
There is nothing prideful about submitting to God’s will, but rather the opposite of pride; we are humbling ourselves by submitting to His will – giving of our time to Him. What could be a better use of time than serving the Lord and studying His word to get to know Him better?
We are all individually accountable for whether or not we study scripture and whether or not we share the gospel. Yes, we are eternally secure if we’ve believed on Christ for salvation. Yet we (believers) will all appear at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor.5:10). This is not a judgment pertaining to salvation (that was settled when we believed on Jesus for salvation), but rather is a judgment on what we did to serve Him AFTER we were born again. Did we share the gospel and serve the Lord? If so, what foundation did we build upon?
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor.3:11).
We are then (at the judgment seat of Christ) either given rewards, or lose rewards, depending on whether or not our desire was for selfish reasons or whether it was to serve the Lord and bring glory to Him.
12 “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
So to answer those who mock us… those who deride us for sharing God’s word unapologetically? We love the Lord; we want to know everything we can about Him. This is found in His word. And if we are not doing these things for God’s glory, then we are doing them for our own selfish reasons. We would lose rewards at the judgment seat of Christ. So the question to those who mock us… Why would we share God’s word for our own glory knowing full well that if we did so (for selfish reasons) we would be losing rewards at the judgment seat of Christ?
There’s nothing wrong with prayer and listening to good hymns that give glory to the Lord. In fact, we are encouraged to do so in scripture. However, if that’s all we are doing in our ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus, we are missing out on getting to know Him. And truly none of us can ever exhaust God’s word; there is always something more to be gleaned.
Even if we’ve read the same chapter a dozen or a hundred times… we can always learn more!
In Acts 18 we are told of those who were in Berea. They searched the scriptures daily. They’d heard a message, a teaching, and they wanted to be sure it was scripturally sound. We should be more like the Bereans.
God (in the past) told Israel that they were “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). They rejected God’s word. They also likely claimed to have a ‘personal relationship’ with Him because they were His chosen people, the apple of His eye. Yet they slacked off and took it for granted, so much so that by the time Christ came they didn’t even recognize Him, even though scripture had foretold His coming! Many of them didn’t know His word, and so they didn’t even know the time of His visitation (Luke 19:44).
It takes both a firm foundation in scripture as well as BELIEF.
Sadly, many then didn’t believe God’s word. So too today do we see the same problem. The answers are all there in scripture, yet so few believe the Bible. And then, many of those who claim they do believe what the Bible says don’t even take time to read and study to know what His word says.
In Amos 8:11-12 God warned of a coming time when there would be a famine for His word. What we see today are those who are purposefully starving themselves of God’s word.
There is a cure for this starvation diet: “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt.4:4).
Job said he esteemed God’s word more than his necessary food (Job 23:12).
We should desire to study His word more than we desire to eat. We should want to serve Him with a glad heart. We don’t do it for vain-glory for ourselves, but to help others, and especially to serve the Lord! After all, it’s HIS word we share when we share scripture, not our own.
We expect these types of insults and attitudes from the lost, but it’s very troubling when it comes from those who profess to be fellow believers. We desire for other believers to also delve into God’s word. We try to nudge them; we even try to help them by showing them the scriptural location for the answers to questions they ask. Yet now, in these perilous last days, we are now mocked and derided for knowing scripture?
Why did I write this article? I almost didn’t. Those who need to hear this will likely be the last to read it. But I wrote it because there are many of us sharing God’s word every day, trying to reach the lost with the gospel, trying to comfort fellow believers with scriptural promises and Bible prophecy aligning.
We can expect to get buffeted by the unsaved world. And often times we even get attacked by those who profess to be fellow believers. But this newest attack? If you aren’t aware of this new trend in attacks yet, you soon will be.
We should expect these kinds of things in the perilous last days. I’m not going to stop sharing God’s word because another professing Christian is upset, jealous, ashamed, or worse… just has no desire to serve the Lord or study His word! I don’t think you will be cowered into silence either – especially now, as God’s prophetic word is precisely aligned.
So why did I write this? To encourage you all to keep on sharing the gospel, studying His word and serving the Lord.
You’re not alone. I want you to know that those who are serving Him are also going through these same trials. But since we do know scripture, we have a comfort that those who don’t study His word lack. We have the comfort of knowing the season, the lateness of the hour. We have a comfort and surety knowing that what is foretold in Bible prophecy is aligned and will soon come to pass. We also have the comfort of knowing that Jesus has promised to deliver us (believers) from the wrath to come (1 Thes.1:10, Rom.5:9, 1 Thes.5:9).
All of this is a comfort and a joy we just couldn’t have without having put in the devoted time to study His word.
I almost feel sad for those who don’t have this same comfort. Don’t you? They are missing out on so much! I say I ‘almost’ feel sorry for them, because they can choose to study His word right now!
No, we can’t all be pastors or missionaries. We can’t all head a committee or serve a prominent function. But what we CAN all do is study His word and share it with others (whether we are mocked or not).
And don’t we all want to be found being about our Father’s business when He comes to take us up?
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).