We are still talking about our robust doctrine of the Bible and applications of this teaching. Last post, I gave four applications. This time, I give four more.
5. Don't pick and choose which parts of the Bible to read--it's all profitable. So many Christians make this error. We get stuck reading Acts because we "like the stories" or we "love missions." We read the Gospels exclusively because we want to "stick to what Jesus himself said." Our belief that the Bible (all of it) is God's very word (combined with our belief that Jesus is God) tells us that all of the Bible is "what Jesus himself said." Red-letter Bibles that highlight the words that came from Jesus' physical mouth perpetuate this error. If 2 Timothy 3:16 is to be believed, then those weird stories in Judges that you skip over are just as much God's word as the Sermon on the Mount. Word to the wise: this does not mean that all of the Bible is equally important or applies to our lives today equally well. It does mean that it is all profitable in some way and that we should give respect to the whole counsel of God.
6. Memorize Scripture. Of all the applications, this one may be the most difficult for most people to accomplish. Memorizing Bible verses or passages give you a thought base that is soaked in God's word. It helps you think God's thoughts after him. It can be a great comfort in time of trouble or give you wise and godly counsel for a friend in need. Scripture meditation is a good way to accomplish memorization, check out some great meditation methods on Don Whitney's biblical spirituality website.
7. Ask of everything you believe: is this biblical? As a Southern Baptist, I believe that the Bible is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried (Baptist Faith and Message). That means my political opinions should be evaluated in its light. That means how I treat my wife must be also. That means how I raise my kids or how I behave behind the wheel must be also. In the same vein, but so important that it gets its own point is:
8. Everything your church does ask: is this biblical? Churches (especially Southern Baptist churches) do a lot of stuff "just because." More often than not, it's "just because" it's expedient (easy). About as often, it's "just because" it's tradition. Biblical traditions are great. Unbiblical traditions are idols fit for the fire. If churches seriously examined all their programs, preaching, and governance in light of what the Bible says the church should do, many sacred cows would be sent to the slaughterhouse and the kingdom of God would flourish.