I had a great professor in college who often used a certain analogy to urge us to study God’s Word. He pointed out that when you are falling in love with someone, you want to know everything about them—hobbies, favorite color, favorite foods, childhood stories- everything. You think about them constantly, you miss them when you’re apart, you write love notes (or in today’s society, love texts), and you read and re-read the notes and love letters they send in return. In the same way, we should be like that with the One who loves us more than anyone else—our Triune God. Shouldn’t we want to get to know Him as thoroughly as possible? Shouldn’t we learn all we can about Him? We ought to know Him intimately, learn all we can about His attributes, His history on our behalf, the teachings and doctrines He gives us—in short, we should learn everything we can about Him. And really, it’s quite easy. He left us the ultimate love letter of all time—the Bible.
There are a number of Christians out there who think, “Hey, I know Jesus died for me. I don’t need to bother myself with all that other stuff. Let the theologians worry about that. Don’t complicate my faith.” I’ve talked to people who have that viewpoint, and if you find yourself falling into that mindset, take heed of the words of Hebrews 5. The writer had previously been talking about Jesus as our Great High Priest, who is a “priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Um, what? you might be asking. See, that’s why I don’t bother with all this stuff. It’s just too confusing. I don’t even know who Melchizedek is. But the writer of Hebrews is a step ahead of you. He stops himself and continues with Hebrews 5:11-6:1: “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation…” Do you catch a glimpse of yourself in those words, dear one? Are you too busy or too overwhelmed or too whatever to really get into God’s Word and His teachings (or, dare I say the word—theology)?
Dear Christian, wake up! Rise from your indifference and stop being content with spiritual milk. God has something so much better. He wants to give you the rich food of His teachings and His Word. Delve deeply into His love letter to us. Find out all you can about this majestic and holy God. Review the Old Testament history that really is your history as well. Get a good self-study Bible or a commentary to help explain things you don’t understand. Ask your pastor about things that confuse you. Attend a Bible class on a regular basis. You can’t truly know God apart from His Word. You can’t make Him out to be whatever you want Him to be. That’s not how this works. Don’t get swept away by your feelings or even human logic. Is it logical that God became man to take away our sins? Well, truly, no, and that’s why we need God’s Word. That’s how He chooses to reveal Himself to us. We can’t come up with our faith on our own. Only God can reveal His truths to us.
So where does that leave you, dear one? What do you need to learn to move on to spiritual solid food? For all the times I’ve read the Bible and studied it in classes in high school and college, I know relatively little about the minor prophets, for example. I’ve found the People’s Bible Commentary series by CPH (Concordia Publishing House) to be a wonderful resource in my own Bible study, and I’ve worked my way through a number of them. I’m thinking it’s time to get into the commentaries about those minor prophets and see what understanding I can glean from them.
Do you think it might be boring to study the Bible? I can’t speak for you, but I know that when I learn something new I get excited. Sometimes I literally get chills when I realize something I hadn’t realized before. I text my findings to a close friend, and she gets chills right along with me! God’s Word is “living and active,” the writer to the Hebrews reminds us in 4:12. It is not some old, ancient writing with no bearing on your life today. It is every bit as relevant to you today as it was when it was first written. Study it for yourself and experience the richness of that solid food God offers. And speaking of which, I just dusted off my Hebrews commentary. It’s time to read up on Melchizedek.