[What happens when a Calvinist blogger and an Arminian blogger get together?* This guest post! Unklee from Down Under has a great blog going at the Way?.**I hope you enjoy this taste of what he has to offer, and that you'll head on over to his place to continue reading the series on Bible reading he started earlier this week.]
Bible study has become one of the main activities of evangelical Christians. Many of us get together weekly to study the Bible in small groups, we listen to Bible teachers in sermons every Sunday and on our iPods, and get more in best selling books. And if we’re properly spiritual, we read and meditate on the Bible every day.
It certainly leaves us full of knowledge, but how well does it serve God’s purposes?
Knowledge is not a goal
The Bible is clear that knowledge is not an end in itself, for “knowledge puffs up” (1 Corinthians 8:1) – our understanding of the scriptures must lead to action, so we are doers as well as hearers (James 1:22).
Jesus’ last command to his followers was not just to teach, but to make disciples who obey (Matthew 28:19-20).
Obeying what is clear
There are many things about the Bible that are not clear, and too often we argue over them. But surely we should first get on with obeying what is clear, and give the difficult matters and arguments a much lower priority?
Some calls to obedience and action
There are many calls to action in the New Testament, and especially in the life of Jesus, that are very clear, yet they are not always given the same emphasis in modern western christianity.
Here are some challenging teachings which are taught in several passages, not just the ones I’ve referenced:
• the dangers of wealth ( Luke 12:13-21)
• peace and non-violence (Matthew 5:38-42)
• forgiving over and over again as we want God to forgive us (Matthew 18:21-35)
• loving our enemies and praying for them (Matthew 5:44)
• helping the poor (James 1:27)
• allowing the Spirit to direct our lives, avoiding legalism and rules (Galatians 5:16, 2 Corinthians 3:6)
If we did followed these clear teachings instead of arguing over disagreements, we would be more loving and caring, more united, less self-centered and more like Jesus (John 13:34-35) – and the world might take more notice of us.
Questions to ponder (from Tim, not unklee so don’t blame him!):
Which passages of Scripture do you think Christians are least prone to disagree over?
Why do you think Christians disagree over those types of passages anyway?
*No, I’m not going to tell you which of us is which.
**Unklee and I met through reading each other’s comments at Laura Martin’s place, Enough Light.