December 1, 2005

For as long as I can remember I was taught the importance of knowing the Bible, the Word of God. From childhood I was encouraged to memorize the scripture. Many of the early evangelist campaigns I was associated with were called, “Know Your Bible” campaigns or something close to that. Always with an emphasis on knowing scripture. My grand children bring home memory verses to learn before their next class. Knowing the Bible has always been important to those of my fellowship. I will always appreciate that emphasis, for it help me learn the Bible.

But is that the reason God gave us His word? I believe it is “a” reason, but not “the main” reason. Ultimately the scripture was given to reveal God to us in order that we might have a relationship with the Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Head knowledge will not give you a relationship. Just look at the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Head knowledge did not give me a relationship with the Father either during those early days. Most of my study and learning the scripture was directed at being able to straighten out all the error in the religious world. My study was to learn “doctrine”. I wanted to be able to “defend” the truth. As a result I missed the most important purpose for the Bible, to help me have a relationship with the God who made me and love me.

The Apostle John is one of my favorite authors in scripture. Especially his small letters near the end of his life and the New Testament. He had walked with and be led by the Spirit for many years, and it shows. Listen to the following.

“I write to you dear children because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write too you, dear children, because you have known the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” I John 1:12-14

Note the emphasis on “knowing” the Father. I believe that this is the reason we have the Bible. Not to know “about” Him, but to “know Him”. There is a grand canyon of difference between the two. John’s reference to God’s word living in you, is not a “mind” thing, it is a “heart” thing. The fruit of knowing “about” Him is legalism, the fruit of “knowing Him” is a relationship. When God’s word lives in us, it changes everything about us. It changes what we love, how we act. It changes our dreams and goals in life. It changes the way we respond to wrong done to us, the way we view suffering, and the way we treat others. This change means we are “new creatures”, or as Jesus said, “born again”.

It is important to know the Scripture, but most important to know (meaning relationship) the Father. Do you know Him, or just know a lot about Him?


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