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How is it that we can spend so much time on earthly pursuits yet devote so little to the study of God’s Word as revealed to us in the Bible?

By neglecting Scripture, we leave ourselves open to all manner of distortion by apostates, heretics and secularists telling us what Jesus supposedly said.  Yes, He spoke of love and charity, but he also spoke of repentance and of refusing people into His kingdom. 

Do you notice that whenever we don’t wish to do something, we say, ‘I really don’t have time’. Yet, we seem to make time for all manner of things from shopping to television to video games.  Hmm.  Strange we make time for those and not for the essentials of salvation.

Yet, we are conditioned to make way on biblical literacy for social acceptance.  Triablogue, in the wake of Barna’s survey on the Bible in America, discussed this topic in ‘Giving up Social Currency for Something Better’.  Herein, they say, lies the problem:

If you spend your time responsibly, you’ll pay a high social price for it. Are you paying that sort of price for your time management? If you go into work this morning without being able to name the four gospels, without knowing who the vice president of the nation is, or without knowing how to defend your view of abortion, you probably won’t pay much of a social price for it. But if you didn’t watch American Idol or Monday Night Football, you’ll most likely be left out of a lot of discussions. The world won’t reward you for your knowledge of theology, church history, or ethics as much as it will reward you for your knowledge of trivial and vulgar television programs, music, and sports.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with something like watching television or playing a video game. But the degree to which Americans are involved in such activity, while neglecting things that are far more important, is grossly wrong.

It used to be that we could depend on our parents or our pastors to provide the missing Scriptural links.  Yet, each generation knows less and less about the Bible.  We’re not passing it on to our young people.  Granted, in some cases, it’s because both parents work; weekends and evenings become compressed blocks of time to be used to spend time together or in social pursuits outside the home. Even when we attend church, however, we find that it can become a means of entertainment, earthly comfort devoid of exploring the Gospel in depth.  Consequently, if we are serious about our knowledge of the Bible and, by extension, our children’s knowledge of it, we realise we have a lot of independent study to do!  And, therein lies the rub.

Triablogue recognises this and advises:

Scripture often encourages us to consider future generations and make sacrifices for their benefit, “that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18). You don’t have to avoid things like sports and video games altogether. But why not give them up, or at least decrease your time spent on them, anyway? Many people of previous generations did so, to your benefit. A Christian ought to be enthralled by “the unfathomable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). He should be risking and sacrificing (responsibly), trying to achieve great things, involved in something that’s “more wonderful than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.

Failure to do so can lead to all manner of distortion, including intellectualisation, as they illustrate here in a March 2010 post, ‘Count Your Blessings’, which analyses a letter they received from a philosophy student.  Here’s an excerpt (the italicised words are from the letter):

The things the bible says about the matter seem mysterious or rely too heavily on a human relationship analogy (e.g. surely the Father-son analogy only goes so far given God’s hiddenness and permission of suffering)..

The father/son analogy wasn’t intended to explain God’s “hiddenness” or the problem of evil. That’s why the Bible uses a wide range of metaphors to illustrate God. It’s the combination of metaphors that fill out the picture.

And as for Christ’s death, I must admit that I have difficulty feeling grateful for His sacrifice since many parts of the justification story are in tension with my intuitions on justice (e.g. substitutionary atonement).

Well, that’s circular. If you’re grateful for what your rescuer did, then you’re not inclined to be critical of what he did.

Say a lifeguard can only save one of two drowning swimmers. You’re happy to be alive, but you feel survivor’s guilt. Why did he have to die so that you could live? At one level it doesn’t seem fair.

Still, it would scarcely be appropriate to tell the lifeguard, “I find it hard to thank you for saving my life when the other swimmer drowned.”

Regardless of the other swimmer’s fate, you should be grateful to the lifeguard for saving your life. And he may have taken a personal risk in doing so. The rip currents endangered him as well.

Or perhaps the lifeguard was in a position to save both swimmers, yet unbeknownst to you, he had good reason to let the other swimmer drown … But the lifeguard doesn’t owe you an explanation.

It’s an excellent post, especially for parents who have children of university-age who think they have all the answers.

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