On becoming a ‘Book’ smart Christian
By Jessica Brodie
I’ll never forget Mr. Needham’s sophomore history class. We spent an entire six-month semester learning about Russia from the diaries of Tsar Nicholas II. That was the year history shifted, for me, from memorizing dates and names of long-dead generals to understanding there were real people behind these events that we studied. They had feelings just like I did! They loved and pined and feared. They hoped and dreamed and lamented.
I remember putting real time into studying for that class. I’d read the homework pages voraciously, gobbling up the details because they meant something. I might have gotten straight As in my other classes, but for those I studied just for the test. This class was different—I studied because I cared.
So why, twenty years later, wasn’t I gobbling up God’s Word like I did the tsar’s diaries? Why did I just “put in the time” instead of hungering for comfort, wisdom, truth, and guidance from the chapters and books I read in the Bible?
I didn’t put in the time back then because I didn’t truly care about knowing those things. While I believed in God and was a Christian, I didn’t understand the correlation between the truths I read in the Bible and how knowing them intellectually impacted my eternal soul. Deep down, I felt like I got more from talking to God and spending time with God (in church, in books, in art, in nature) than I did studying His Word, so I didn’t really “need” to.
I was wrong. When I finally began reading the Bible daily a couple of years ago and made the decision for it to be a discipline and a priority, it didn’t feel “easy” or “natural” at first. But I was determined to keep at it—and then the magic happened. I realized the people in the Bible were actual people, just like me. They were struggling to find love and have babies and make their way in the world just like me. They were relevant and real, and the moment that hit me, my eyes were opened and I could see the proverbial light in a whole new way.
I still prioritize talking with and spending time with God, but I also prioritize reading the words He intentionally sent for me to study and understand so I can not only grow in grace and relationship but also in knowledge.
The apostle Peter had it right when he urged the early Christians to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Growing in grace is only part of the picture. Growing in knowledge is also a critical component in our faith journey.
Devote yourself. Spend time studying His messages to you in the Holy Bible. His words aren’t just a “tool” for spiritual growth. They’re a love letter for us, making the truth of the Great I Am become fully embedded in our minds as well as in hearts and souls.