Learning, of course, is important. With regard to our walk with God, learning more about faith, the Bible and theology has great merit. We need more theological conversations and reflection. That begins with Bible study.
But it can’t end there.
I want people to connect to God through scripture. To see the love of God portrayed throughout the Bible so they, so you can better recognize God’s love around you. You’ll notice that’s more than head knowledge. Again, head knowledge is meaningful and helpful. It is not, however, our final goal.
The world has known many people with great biblical knowledge with no Christ-centered perspective. We don’t need more of that.
What we learn about God moves us. The love of God transforms us.
Take Peter, for example. He was a disciple of Jesus. Even though he didn’t always say the right thing and even denied knowing Jesus, Jesus sent him out as an apostle. Peter preached and thousands of people followed Jesus.
Not bad, right?
Peter walked and talked with the Word of God, Jesus. He heard scripture explained in a way none of us ever will. He knew the word.
But that would never be all Christ called him to know. Christ would not have built his church on head knowledge alone. Peter would need God’s authority, God’s anointing and God’s power to live into his calling.
As God’s church today, you and I have those gifts. They are gifts bestowed to us as the body of Christ. Let’s be clear. You don’t need God’s authority, anointing or power to be a country club. So, if that’s the kind of church we’ve been, we’ve been doing it wrong. God doesn’t need the church to just be a place of learning either.
We need the transformation.
In Acts 10, Peter has a moment of transformation. He was led to visit Cornelius, a devout man of God. He was not Jewish, but he had a vision from God. The Lord led him to Peter. When the two met, Peter said something profound.
Cornelius expected Peter to share what the Lord commanded him to say. And Peter did that. First, though, he said this, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality.”
At this point, not everyone sees that truth. Not everyone believes or accepts that idea. So, it’s outstanding that Peter would say that. Before this meeting, he hadn’t fully understood what God wanted to accomplish. A literal translation of what Peter said could be: This truth I am grasping, that God is not partial.
In other words, he was still learning, still grasping the breadth of God’s mission and truth. But that’s not head knowledge. It began with teaching, but was now blooming to a new level of faithfulness and understanding.
May God open our hearts the same way. As we read scripture, may it be that we allow ourselves the room to grow in faithfulness and understanding, too. Let’s be ready to let the love of God change our hearts and minds about what we think about other people and maybe even ourselves.