Bob Tamasy: The Bible: Cure Or Vaccination?

Thursday, February 6, 2014 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

My hometown, Chattanooga, recently was named America’s most “Bible-minded” city, based on a survey conducted by the American Bible Society with The Barna Group, a research organization that tracks spiritual trends across the nation and around the world.

The researchers defined “Bible-minded” people as “respondents who report reading the Bible within the past seven days and who agree strongly in the accuracy of the Bible.” Having lived here for more than 30 years – and dearly loving this unique community where we raised three daughters – I find this study’s results very interesting. Seems like the good news vs. bad news kind of deal.

Being one who regularly reads the Bible, almost daily, and strongly believes in the accuracy and validity of the Scriptures, this sounds like good news. However, experience has taught me just reading the Bible – and even affirming the accuracy of what it says – doesn’t necessarily or automatically correlate to a changed life.

For instance, if you surveyed thousands of people and asked if they thought drunk driving was a bad idea, everyone would agree. And yet every day people drive drunk. If you inquired about whether people thought spending less than you earn is wise financial management, you wouldn’t find many in disagreement. Yet the vast majority of people live beyond their means, using credit cards and other forms of indebtedness to satisfy both needs and wants.

The same applies when people wholeheartedly affirm their confidence in the Bible. Take the 10 Commandments, for example: How many people would declare we should steal, should kill, should covet our neighbor’s spouse or possessions, should commit adultery, or should lie? Hardly any – but many of us do some of these things just the same.

And it’s the other commandments that trouble us the most – things like not worshipping any gods other than the God of the Bible; taking the name of God in vain, or observing the Sabbath as a true day of rest.

Sadly, the majority of people who profess to be followers of Jesus – including myself at times – treat the Bible as a general guideline, kind of like the out-of-bounds lines on a football field or basketball court. But at times, we think, it’s okay to step out of bounds – for the sake of convenience or expediency.

Other studies have shown so-called “Bible-minded” people might attend worship services more frequently, and they might have a different vocabulary than non-believing friends and neighbors, but in their everyday lives they don’t look much different. We divorce at almost the same rate as non-believers, seem equally seduced by materialism, we perform our work in like manner, and our charitable giving typically doesn’t amount to much more than those who never darken a church’s doors.

As someone has said, many of us are “so heavenly minded we’re no earthly good.”

What’s the solution? First, we need to dispense with our Western way of thinking – the mindset that says we can believe one way, but act quite differently. To truly believe is to act accordingly.

Second, we need to heed James 1:22-25, which admonishes, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.”

My intent is not to sound judgmental, because apart from the power of Jesus Christ we’re all imperfect and flawed, certain to betray our convictions from time to time. But as the apostle James wrote, it’s not enough to read the Bible and listen to it being taught from a pulpit. We need to do what it says.

Otherwise, instead of serving as the cure for ungodly thinking and behavior, it becomes merely a vaccination – giving us just enough so that we don’t catch, and exhibit, the real thing.


---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.



'It Really God Bad In A Hurry' Is Sunday's Topic At Middle Valley

Middle Valley Church of God announces that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, 'It Really God Bad In A Hurry '  in the  10:30 a.m.  service this  Sunday .  This is part of a sermon series titled 'We Have To Find A Way To Fix This Problem.'  This new sermon series will focus on the need for redemption ... (click for more)

Bruce Tidwell Called As Bishop Of The Brainerd Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints

Bruce Tidwell was called as the Bishop of the Brainerd congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 3067 Ooltewah Ringgold Road in Ooltewah. Mr. Tidwell will serve as the ecclesiastical leader of the Brainerd congregation for a period of about five years without pay. He has served in many different positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, ... (click for more)

City Police Officer Seriously Injured In Crash On Dodson Avenue

A Chattanooga Police officer was seriously injured in a crash on Dodson Avenue on Friday afternoon.   Police said the injuries to Sean Lynch, 38, are not life-threatening.   Police responded to a traffic crash at 1400 Dodson Ave.   The crash involved a silver Ford 350 van,  (Vehicle #1) a white Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser driven by Officer ... (click for more)

Lawsuit Charges That Georgia Law Firm Stole One Of The Woodmore Elementary Cases From Chattanooga Attorneys

A Circuit Court lawsuit charges that one of the Woodmore Elementary bus wreck cases was stolen from a Chattanooga law firm by Georgia attorneys just shortly after the Nov. 21 tragic crash that killed six students and injured others. It is illegal in Tennessee for attorneys to contact victims of a tragedy for 30 days after the incident. The lawsuit brought by Carl Lewis, father ... (click for more)

CVB Should Share Financials With The Home Folks

The recent debate over the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's funding and budget has gotten ugly. A Hamilton County commissioner has asked questions and made comments about the CVB. The director of the CVB has organized a campaign to dismiss the commissioner's questions and comments. The children on the playground are choosing sides and nothing useful seems to be happening. It's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Haggling Must Stop

Far be it for me to suggest the Hamilton County Commission and the School Board need to spend more time at recess but it was obvious this week the two groups need to work at being better friends. We have nine county commissioners and just as many corresponding school board members to work together for the betterment of one entity – Hamilton County. Everybody who thinks that is happening ... (click for more)