There’s a large disservice of the secondhand gospel these days. Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16). We often we hear the argument of translation and man messing it up. As a believer, this isn’t a fair argument. We know that God has a plan and uses it wisely for His glory. Now in 2018, (and since the beginning of the Church) there is scripture being shared/taught that is secondhand or as Webster defines is “accepted on another’s authority and not from original investigation.”
Those pretty little Instagram pictures of verses plucked out of context, the ones shared all over Pinterest….what are we doing to the Bible? The actual story of scripture, the history of the Church. How are we teaching our children to know the goodness of our Creator if we aren’t learning, showing, teaching them TRUTH???
It is our responsibility to read and study so that we can use discernment of our own to know the difference in truth and fiction.
I’m honest in the fact that for years, I pinned pretty verses and quoted certain scripture in the hope that those words would encourage and fill me up. Those feel good moments were short-lived because I wasn’t comprehending what was being said, the context in which it came from, and the characteristics about God.
The Bible is a book about God for us to learn about Him, not a book about us to learn more about ourselves.
If we don’t take the time to read and study the text for ourselves, how will we know what truth is? Do we just easily take someone else’s opinion as fact? As women (and men too), we will research to the depths of the internet for information on vacuums, foundation, shoes, and vehicles….but do we research faith or do we will just go to social media for Jesus? Then we will say we don’t have enough time to read and study, so as to make ourselves feel less guilty or not responsible for gaining knowledge.
This attitude is hurtful. It’s hurting our hearts; hurting our faith; it’s hurting our homes; hurting our families. It’s hurting the Church. We’re less familiar with our bibles because studies print scripture text in them, sermon notes/bulletins share the text, and Sunday mornings are filled with full hands of coffee and kids’ accessories instead of bibles because they are no longer necessary to participate in worship. There’s a fine line between making the gospel accessible and giving people a crutch/excuse to be lukewarm about our study.
Where does the line fall?
Not sure. Is it easy for people who are strong in their faith to be familiar with their bible and not carry it? Obviously. Should bible studies provide text in them? I guess it depends on the study. If we continue to depend on someone else’s faith for our own, we’re doomed.
Without gaining personal firsthand knowledge of God, it’s difficult to explain your belief. Without spending time in the word, it’s almost impossible to use it as the sharp two-edge sword that it is (Hebrews 4:12). As Jen Wilkin says repeatedly, “It’s impossible for the heart to love what the mind does not know.” This is fact; if we don’t know it we cannot love it or live it out.
So how do we fix this secondhand gospel?
- Read // It’s simple to read. Where to start? Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning….” It’s a great place to start. It gets a little dark by chapter 3, but you can do it! If you would prefer to start in the New Testament, go to John.
- Listen // There’s tons of resources to have someone else read it to you. It’s pretty quick. Studies show it will take 50-70 hours to listen to the whole bible. That means in less than 1 hour a day you can hear the whole bible before 2019!
- Study // Dig in.
- Ask // Ask someone the questions you have. Look them up. Check out books from reliable resources.
- Be Part of the Solution // Encourage your family and friends to read and listen also. Read to your kids. Check out THIS POST for information and resources on how to teach your children about Jesus. Knowledge is power!
- Don’t rely on Social Media // Yes it can be great, but it shouldn’t be your source for the gospel.
Is it really that simple?
I really think it is. Learning what is truth will help us be able to spot what is false. The Bible speaks of this multiple times. It’s our job to arm ourselves with the truth of the Word so that we can guard our hearts in the battle for the Kingdom.
So now I want you to read….
- 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 16
- 2 Timothy 4:1-5
- 1 Timothy 6:2-10
- “He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”
No one said it would be easy. In fact, we’re warned of all the hardships. So let’s do this! For the kingdom!