“Beam Me Up Scotty” . . .

Though that phrase is often attributed to to the iconic character Capt. Kirk in the fictional world of Star Trek, yet it was not actually uttered. According to Wikipedia:

And so it goes on and on. If you are a true Start Trek nerd then you have all of the above memorized. However, despite that phrase not actually being uttered, it does capture both the sense and spirit of the show. But the show was not written that we may remember the script.

Too many times we in conservative Christianity do the same thing with scripture. We think if we memorize each and every exact use and tense of a phrase, we are experts in the faith. Or we read the Bible through yearly starting on January 1st of each year makes us more knowledgeable about God. The Sadducees and Pharisees knew their version of the Bible and had long historical arguments over the meaning of the text. But was the Bible written to be a source of debate? We fondly teach our children sword drills. For the uninitiated, that is many traditional churches hold contests to see who can look up and find Bible verses the quickest. The sad truth is most do not realize that Bible Verses are NOT part of the Canon and were added afterwards by man and there have been multiple divisions over the years. All we are really doing is teaching man’s division of scripture.

The unspoken theology is that knowing more about the Bible shows how much we love God. Is knowing the Bible enough for growing in the faith? Yes, and honestly no. For thousands of years most followers of the faith could NOT read or write. If knowing the Bible was enough then they can be ruled out of Christianity. What if you were trapped on a desert island with a group of people no direct Bible to reference, would your faith or those you share your faith with be canceled out? Or what about all of those with intellectual disabilities who can not read or small children, are we to deny them the love of God as well?

But what was it that Jesus said?

  • John 5:39-40 NASB – 39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

Is it necessary to have an understanding of what was written . . . absolutely 1000x yes over and over again. Without knowing the Bible I could not reference what Jesus said. But there is a world of difference between knowing the Bible and knowing Jesus.

Knowing the Bible is supposed to introduce us to the Living God. Both the Pharisees and Sadducees missed out on Jesus because of the love for what was written more than their love for God.

  • Mark 12:24 NASB – 24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?

Memorizing scripture is not necessarily an indicator of being more in love with God, just better at playing Bible Trivia.

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