Why does it matter? Isn't it the job of the pastor to teach the Bible each week? Yes it is. Partly. But not mostly. There are some major problems with the mindset, 'I know all I need to from what my pastor tells me.'
The first problem is that YOU are accountable to live in accordance with Scripture. And to do that effectively you'll need to know more about what the Bible teaches than one sermon a week can teach you.
Remember, it is YOU, not the pastor, who...
- sits next to John Doe at work and is responsible to share Jesus with him.There is a vast array of decisions that need to be made in life and your knowledge of, and commitment to, the words of the Bible will determine if you walk in the narrow ways of Jesus or in the wide paths of the world. Here's how the Bible puts it,
- engages other mothers at neighborhood parks.
- has to explain to your children what is right and what is wrong and what the standard is for determining that.
- is called to defend truth in the face of assault and error.
- will face personal setback and suffering and trials of all kinds.
- has to decide if you will steward what you have or consume more and more on the back of credit.
- All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)Here is a key verse on the subject of knowing the ways of Jesus as revealed by Scripture and living by them.
- Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105 ESV)
- Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. (Proverbs 13:13 ESV)
- Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:6 ESV)
- Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21 ESV)
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.On this side of heaven no one will be perfect in keeping the commands of God. But here is the grace of God: we don't have to be perfect. We just have to be willing to admit we're not, ask Jesus Christ to save us from our sin, and then try our best everyday to follow his teachings.
(1 John 2:3-6 ESV)
The way we follow Jesus is reading his word and putting it into practice.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.The way we renew our mind is not by reading the books and blogs of men, debating with non-believers and false teachers, soaking in hours of reality TV, harvesting our Farmville crops on Facebook, or drinking away the weekend. It is by taking a Bible, opening it up and reading it. Day after day after day.
(Romans 12:2 ESV)
Its like I tell my kids when they don't want to eat something new for dinner: try it, you might like it!