When I was in elementary school, we briefly attended a church that I ... well, I don't have very fond memories of this church. One thing they did have going for them, though, was a large children's ministry- a big improvement from the church we attended just previously... in which myself and my sisters were the children's ministry.
I remember that little room reserved for the fifth graders pretty vividly.
All the chairs lined up in a row, sitting near my "church friends" with their long, perfectly blonde hair and dimples. They all had pearl earrings. I really, really wanted pearl earrings.
This was where I first learned about "sword drills."
If you don't know, a sword drill is when the teacher calls out a verse of the Bible, and the first one to find it wins.
I was terrible at sword drills.
I can't remember which New Testament epistle comes when. And I have sort-of-kind-of-undiagnosed dyscalculia and consistently flip numbers around under pressure (fours and nines are the worst... I tell ya).
I was pretty well doomed to lose every sword drill.
The red head who always wore corduroy pants won. Every time.
In fact, he won a lot of those Bible contests, that kid.
He was super, super good at memorizing his memory verses. He knew all the Bible trivia. Bible Jeopardy was a breeze for this kid.
The trouble was, he was a major jerk.
Snobby and stuck up. I remember one time when he took two cookies and lied about it and the littlest girl in the class didn't get a cookie and she cried. And he didn't even look like he felt bad. He was the worst.
He knew the Bible, but he didn't really know his God. He certainly didn't act like it, anyway.
We've been talking about ways to understand the Bible better, to read more consistently, to increase our competency of Scripture.
But let's not forget- knowing the Bible isn't the end goal, here.
Knowing God is.
The Bible is a gift to us to use to help us find Him, to understand His heart better.
Reading the Bible is a means to knowing God better, to leaning in to Him, to finding His truth, His life, His peace, through Christ.
When we lose sight of that, we are missing the mark.
It's easy to turn into that red headed kid from my Sunday school class.
We can have all the knowledge about the Bible in our minds, it has to work its way into our hearts, and then work itself out through our hands.
That's why reading Scripture is an ongoing, always changing, always appropriate action- because we probably won't ever be perfect, and we certainly can't fully know our God.
Our search to know the heart of God won't ever end- and so we pray. We ask questions. We read the Bible and ask to hear His voice.
We want to know Him more deeply, more fully. We want to come to know greater intimacy in Him.
Knowing about the Bible is a good thing-- knowing the Author is the best thing.
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