Recently I read a commentary about a prominent, nationally known individual who, according to a very close friend, “knows the Bible.” An interesting observation about anyone, especially for someone in the public eye.
However, I’ve encountered people over the years who also claimed to know the Bible, yet there was little if any evidence of the presence and power of God in their lives. It’s not my job to judge, of course, but I think a better question is, “Does this person know the God of the Bible?”
Let me offer an analogy: Years ago, I was an avid reader of horror novels. One of my favorite authors was Stephen King. I had read a number of his books, including The Stand, Carrie, The Shining, and The Dark Tower series, which was recently made into a theatrical film. I knew these books very well – in fact, I had twice read the voluminous epic, The Stand, spanning more than 1,000 pages in both its first and second versions.
During my days as a newspaper editor in suburban Houston, Texas, I had an opportunity to meet and interview Mr. King when he was speaking in our area. I leaped at the chance. So, I had read some of his books, met him face to face, and interviewed him for an article in our newspaper. But even after the personal interview, I didn’t really know Stephen King, not as an author and especially not as a person. I gained certain impressions about him, but didn’t know him. He was just one of many famous people with whom I crossed paths during my career.
The same applied for me concerning the Bible and God for many years. As a senior in high school, for whatever reason I set out to read the Bible cover to cover. And that’s what I did, “religiously” reading five chapters a night, starting with Genesis and ending with Revelation. It took about nine months, but I reached my goal.
At the end of that time I “knew” the Bible. I’d read it in its entirety, and had garnered quite a bit of information from it. However, I didn’t know the God of the Bible. I’d grown familiar with the book, but had no personal relationship with its Author.
That changed years later through a series of circumstances. Looking back, I still marvel at the difference it makes knowing the God who inspired the Bible, discovering it’s not a random collection of ancient writings. Instead, I’ve learned it’s the Word of God that clearly and profoundly reveals the heart and character of the One who through His Spirit inspired and directed the human writers who penned its 66 Old and New Testament books.
As 2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
I’ve read about teachers in theological seminaries, as well as professors of religious studies in large universities, who have diligently read the Bible and claim to “know” it. Yet their conclusions about it demonstrate a pronounced skepticism about its veracity, validity and value.
They would cast doubt on 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which asserts, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Over the past 40 years or so, I’ve had the privilege of learning about God, Jesus Christ, the Scriptures and their truth from many of the leading Bible teachers and preachers in the U.S.A. and the world, as well as devoted “lay people.” But more than that, I’ve had the joy and humble privilege of getting to know – more and more each day – the God of the Bible.
I’ve concluded the Bible is far more than just a compendium of spiritual knowledge and information. It’s the revealed, eternal, unchanging truth of the living God. Through it, and many experiences in my journey with Him through the years, I’ve also come to know Him. And I’m still striving to know Him even better.
The apostle Paul wrote, as presented in the Amplified Translation of the Bible, “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him – that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding [the wonder of His Person] more strongly and more clearly…” (Philippians 3:10).
This has become my personal mission statement, desiring that as a writer, editor, mentor, husband, father, grandfather and friend, I’ll be used as an instrument for helping others in their own quest to do the same.
Next time you hear someone comment about another person “knowing the Bible,” I hope they mean that individual also knows the God of the Bible. There’s a difference – a profound one.
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” 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. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at email@example.com.