Biblically Complacent

To truly let God shape your worldview, you must not only filter the teachings of your culture in order not to be conformed, but also you must be transformed by the renewing of your mind as you study the Word of God (Rom. 12:2).  In God’s sovereignty, he inspired human authors to write the pertinent information concerning life, faith, the world, and most importantly, himself.

  • The Bible was composed by forty different authors who served in every position and level of society.
  • These authors lived in thirteen different countries.
  • The writings came from three different continents.
  • The Bible’s contents were written down in three different languages over a time period of 1,500 years or forty generations worth.
  • The sixty-six books that make up the Bible contain 1,189 chapters, 31,173 verses, and 783,137 words all amazingly displaying a unifying message.

The Bible is all about God and his plan to redeem a fallen people.

In its pages, God reveals answers to the questions that mankind is asking.  In the pages of Scripture, you can find how the world was created, the purpose for life, the manner in which we should live, the description of the afterlife, and so much more.  The Bible is a treasure of answers for the Christian desiring to comprise a worldview according to God’s standards.

While the Bible is a treasure, it will only benefit you as much as you treasure it.  In a world that attempts to ignore biblical teaching, you must realize that the Bible will benefit you only as much as you treasure it.

For much of my life, I was biblically complacent.  It was a shame I had a copy for so long and yet knew so little of what was inside.

In my time as a college student and working with college students, I have come to realize that five types of Bibles are very prevalent on campuses (and really with all ages).

#1 The Tattered Bible.

The Tattered Bible is a rare commodity.  This worn out book is not in its current state due to neglect or abuse.  The owner of this Bible has not taken it for granted or failed to protect it.  The owner actually loves God so much that he or she cannot get enough of it.  The wear and tear of this Bible is due to the owner’s intense passion to know the Word.

If you open it up, you will see passages underlined in Habakkuk just as much as you would see in James.  The pages are imprinted with the fingerprints of a Christian who knew that in order to love God better, that person would need to know God better.  In order to know God better, he or she decided to read God’s Word intentionally.  This person not only hears the Word, but also does the Word (James 1:22).  This person puts the Word into practice.  When complications arise, this person goes to the Tattered Bible to inquire of God’s Word rather than mere man’s opinions.  The owner of the Tattered Bible loves God and wants to grow more like him.

#2. The Study Bible.

The second type of Bible is the Study Bible.  This massive conglomeration of pages sandwiched between two pieces of genuine leather is dressed to impress.  It weighs a lot.  It is bulletproof.  It has Scratch-n-Sniff portions in order to experience the author’s culture better.  The owner of this Bible is a serious student of the Word.

The problem is that the owner is not a serious applier of the Word.  The owner has read the Bible a bunch and knows all the key stories and verses.  But for all the knowledge the owner possess, it never translates into life transformation.  The owner possesses a lot of information devoid of application.  Reading the Bible has turned legalistic and not heartfelt.

#3. The Suffocated Bible.

The third type of Bible is the Suffocated Bible.  This Bible can’t breathe because the owner’s life is choking the air out of it.  The fast pace at which this owner is living keeps him or her from ever getting deep into its pages.  This owner loves God but lacks discipline to make scriptural intake a priority.

If the owner is a college student, he or she is so determined to please other people and organizations on campus that the only person he or she says no to is God.  Since God is the most forgiving person in this owner’s life, the relationship with God always takes the back seat.  This owner would never dream of disappointing other people, but by neglecting God’s Word, the owner is not disappointing God but actually hurting himself (James 1:24).

#4. The Emergency Bible.

The fourth type of Bible is the Emergency Bible.  This owner cracks open the Emergency Bible in times of crises just like a first aid kit.  When tragedy strikes, when questions arise, and when doubts emerge, this owner runs to the Emergency Bible for a quick fix.  Once this person makes it through the crisis, the owner promptly returns the Emergency Bible to standby mode just in cause another tragedy comes in the owner’s direction.

Have you ever had one of those friends who only came around when he or she needed something?  Normally, you dislike that type of friend.  You tend to resent his or her presence due to the fair-weather friend status.  The owner of the Emergency Bible is like that with God.  The owner only fosters that relationship when he or she needs something.

#5. The Dusty Bible. 

The final type of Bible is the Dusty Bible.  This Bible is dusty because it is simply never used.  The owner thinks the biblical message is irrelevant, impractical, and incorrect.  This Bible is acknowledged as sacred perhaps, but it carries no weight in the mind of its owner.

The owner of this Bible will often claim that the Bible is too complex of a document to comprehend.  By mentioning the challenges accompanying becoming a student of the Bible, this owner excuses the need to study its message.  Most of us don’t let a challenge slow us down from something we truly desire.  If you get an electronic gadget for Christmas that is hard to use, you don’t keep it in the box due to frustration with its confusing mechanical nature.  If you want to use it, you work at it.  The owner of the Dusty Bible is at that crossroads.  If the owner truly wants to know God’s Word, he will figure it out.  Until then, he will continue to miss out on God’s answers to the world’s questions.

The Change in Me

I entered into college with the Dusty Bible.  Raised in church, I was very familiar with biblical concepts.  I had an ability to retain important info concerning key biblical narratives.  I knew just enough to make me dangerously complacent.

Many people know just enough about the Bible to make them dangerously complacent.

When I felt conviction about understanding God’s Word, I often had people make me feel guilty about not spending time with God.  A minister would pitch the idea that God is waiting in heaven for his kids to come spend time with him, and we didn’t need to leave him hanging.  This pitiful concept of a lonely God did not motivate me.  It brought me guilt, but it never motivated me to change.

I changed the day my theology got straight.  One day I realized that when I neglected time in God’s Word, God wasn’t the one missing out.    I was the one missing out.  My complacent attitude towards the intake of God’s Word led me to the mediocre life I was living.  The fact that I wasn’t reading the Bible did not make God lonely or unable to run the universe, but I was sincerely missing out on getting closer to him.  Make no mistake, if you are ignoring God’s Word, he is not the one missing out.  You are passing by the richest of blessings this life has to offer.

Without God’s Word resonating within my spirit, I was not changing for the better.  I was lacking a genuine message telling me how I needed to change.

Then one day, I finally got sick of it.  I got tired of being ungodly.  I was worried that conviction was rarely present in my life.  I was sick and tired of playing the Bible guessing game as I tried to hone in on a scriptural passage that I should have known the location of by that time in my Christian journey.  I knew little of the Bible, and therefore, the Bible was having little impact upon me.  One day in college, enough was enough.

Many people only know little of the Bible, and therefore, it only has a little impact upon them.

I started reading.  I underlined phrases that impacted me.  I sought out answers for the questions confronting me during devotional times.  Concerning those verses that purely devastated me, I put them on a list of verses I intended to memorize.  The more I read, the more I wanted to know.  The more I knew about the Bible, the more I loved Jesus.  The more I studied his words, the more sure I become concerning those questions that comprise a worldview.  The Bible began to benefit me immensely because I began to treasure it completely.

I read the Bible cover to cover for the first time in my life when I was in college.  Through its teachings, I became confident concerning the origin of the world.  God created it out of nothing (Gen. 1:1).  Everything was made by him and for him (Col. 1:16).  My identity was wrapped up in him.  While I was made in his image, I rebelled against his standard, and therefore sin has corrupted me and the entire world (Rom. 6:23).  Through Christ, my identity changed into a child of God (Eph. 2:8-10).  I discovered that my purpose is simply to give Jesus glory in every possible way (Acts 20:24).  The call to morality was displayed in Jesus’ teachings to love God and to love others (Matt. 22:37-39).  If I could follow those two commands, every moral decision would be solved (Rom. 13:9).  And through the pages of Scripture, I read of my blessed destiny (Rev. 21:3-4) which was decided once Jesus changed me and gave me a new life (2 Cor. 5:17).  My eternity is as secure as the hands that hold it (John 10:28).

As I read its pages, it not only transformed my mind and provided me a biblical worldview, but it also transformed my life.  The amazing thing about Scripture is its ability to transform rather than merely inform (Heb. 4:12).

The amazing thing about Scripture is its ability to transform rather than merely inform.

As I continued to delve into the pages of Scripture, the more I realized I was becoming like Christ.  I loved the things he loved.  I hated the things he stated were out-of-bounds.  I wasn’t perfect, and I didn’t turn into some super-spiritual figure, but Jesus was systematically chipping away at the ugly things in my life through the power of his Word.

What Bible do you have right now?  What would happen if you got serious about reading the Word of God?