You can only love God as much as you know him.
In my tradition of Christianity, the intellectual side was not always given priority but as I grew into my faith, this saying became more and more true.
Sometimes it’s okay to push pause on the worship music.
When I went to Bible college few years ago, I thought I knew a lot about my Christianity. Born and raised in a home that encouraged faith and going to church for as long as I remember. Then in our first Old Testament class in we were asked to name first five books of the Bible, I faltered after Exodus, then we were asked to name as many Bible characters as possible, the result wasn’t much better than previously.
Here’s how learning about different topics continue to transform my faith:
Being nearly 2000 years old, Christian history has its triumphs and embarrassments.
Australian historian and Centre for Public Christianity co-founder John Dickson, describes our history like listening to one of Bach’s Suites. When played badly it is painful but when performed by an expert, in tune, with the words of Christ to “love thy enemy” there is nothing more moving.
In learning of revivals like the Hebrides and Wesleyans the ever presence of God in his people is clear. God didn’t stop at Acts 2 nor has any cultural force in the past two millennia ever done enough to stop God from doing his will.
Facing the horrors of the church’s crimes, the Crusades, the abuses of power. can be a frightening reflection both to the contemporary church, corporately and individually. We can justify certain actions because “God commanded it”, but we are just as human as the those who lived thousands of years ago. Living in the modern age doesn’t stop us from making past mistakes
More than learning three-syllable words, theology – “the study of God” – should always lead to loving him more.
“The heart cannot love what the mind doesn’t know” – Jen Wilkin
Everybody is a theologian because everyone has thoughts about who God is, how he acts and why does thing. Learning theology is our gauge. In the midst of our greatest despair we can remind ourselves of our union with Christ when we’re fighting sin, his sovereignty in the battle, his character as a sustainer when we don’t have enough. When we lean into knowing God more
While there are many different denominations, we need know what ideas are meant to be at our core and what we can be secondary. Holding too tightly to one point of contention can cause separation when the church needs unity more than ever.
Learning well without losing heart
Any learning about God is best done in community. We have a general bias to listen to the resources we find, find the people we like and learning surrounded by people is the greatest thing. Whether its local or online there are communities that exist full of people that love God and seek to know him more. In these places’ ideas can be tested and called out. I’ve been told a few times much to my annoyance, “all people are equal, ideas are not.”
Rather waffle on as to why you should study your Bible more I will leave you with this quote by St Jerome in the 5th century.
“The Scriptures are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning and deep enough for a theologians to swim in without ever touching the bottom" – St. Jerome
Justin Sayson is a freelance journalist living on the Sunshine Coast. From about sport, music, faith or anything else, he’s always keen to discover more about the world around him. You can see more if his writing on justinsayson.com