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.



Pilgrim Congregational Church Announces Easter Holy Week Events

Pilgrim Congregational Church announces its Easter Holy Week events: Palm Sunday Celebration 11 a.m. Sunday, March 29 Dr. Morgan’s sermon is entitled “If You’re Happy – Clap Along.” Childcare available   Maundy Thursday Seder Meal and Service 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 2 RSVP to the church – 423 698-5682 by Sunday, March ... (click for more)

World Impact Launches Program To Address Gang Violence

Pastor Ezra Maize, senior pastor of Rehoboth Ministries and the members of Rehoboth Ministries, launched their first humanitarian community program which will address the gang violence in the City of Chattanooga, through World Impact. World Impact is an organization designed to offer gang affiliated men and women, between the ages of 21-35, an opportunity to be participants in ... (click for more)

Robber Who Was Shot At Rossville Boulevard Car Lot Dies; No Charges To Be Filed

Police said a person who was shot during a robbery attempt at a car lot at 4314 Rossville Blvd. around 1:50 p.m. on Thursday has died. Police said the shooting has been ruled a "justifiable homicide" and no charges will be brought against 27-year-old Alan Miller. The shooting in which the robbery victim shot the suspect was at Miller Auto Sales. (click for more)

Man Charged In Shooting On Sixth Avenue Had Been Shot Himself Last Week; Police Say Incident "Part Of Gang War"

A man charged with attempted first-degree murder on Sixth Avenue Court on Thursday afternoon was shot himself earlier this month. O'Shae Kadaris Smith, 20, of 2114 E. 12th St., is also charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was one of two people shot on Rawlings Street on March 16. Kendre Allen, ... (click for more)

The Problems With Prescription Drug Addiction

In Tennessee today, we have a major problem with prescription drug addiction, particularly when powerful opioid pain relievers are concerned.    For the first time in 2012, Tennesseans abused prescription opioid drugs more than alcohol.  Our young people ages 18-25 abuse prescription opioids at a 30 percent higher rate than the national average.  In just five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Hillman Of Bihar

In the year of our Lord, 1927, there was a very poor child born to a very poor family in a very poor place. His name was Dasrath Manjhi and he was a native of the Musahar community somewhere in India. We know he had no education and, as a member of the lowest Hindu scheduled castes, he didn’t have a cut dog’s chance from the very get go. But after spending considerable time in ... (click for more)