Why knowing the Bible inside out may still not bring you closer to God


When I was in high school I was confronted by an atheist teacher who had read the whole Bible. It confused me to think that someone could read the Bible and still not believe in Jesus. Later on I realised that knowledge is not enough to bring us to Christ.

It's not just atheists and non-Christians that find reading the Bible inadequate. You probably know a "Christian" who knows a whole bunch of scriptures but never walks in them. And that doesn't mean that reading the Bible isn't effective and thus not important. In fact, one of the most important elements to growing in our relationship with God is to know and meditate on His Word.

James 1:22-23 tells us, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror." That being said, we can know the Bible inside out and yet still do not draw near to God.

God's Word is essential to life, but with God's Word must come the enlightenment of the Spirit of God. Think of it this way: God's Word is the body and the Holy Spirit is, well, the spirit. The body without a spirit remains dead, and a spirit without a body remains a ghost. We need both the Word of God and the constant filling and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

How many scholars have studied the Bible for years looking at background, history, translations, meanings, word studies and almost every worldly tool there is to executing God's Word? Not to discount the value and premium that such study brings and if you can invest in such then by all means do. But human intellect without the inspiration of the Spirit means nothing.

To read God's Word without the revelation of the Person and work of Christ at a personal level misses the point. It's like watching a movie with your eyes closed - both useless and a bad use of your time.

And again there is nothing wrong with pursuing more and more an understanding of the Word of God. As Joshua 1:8a tells us, "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night..." But just as we are hungry for God's written word, we must stay sensitive to His spoken word that comes through the revelation of the Holy Spirit who guides us through His word.