“I know, I know, I know!” Those are the words that went through your head when someone tried to explain something to you that you already knew. Or maybe your kids spit that back at you when you offered to correct something in their behavior. My parents and extended family used to say to me in a condescending tone, “You think you KNOW everything,” and then followed that up with something to the effect of, “Just wait, you’ll see.” What were they saying?
There is a difference between knowing something and understanding something.
We have access to an overload of information: Youtube, google, amazon reviews, online courses, certificates, degrees, trainings, Ted-talks, podcasts, blogs, and I haven’t even mentioned books yet!
We don’t lack information, we lack understanding that information.
Honestly you and I have no excuse not to know something. When Peter, a leader in the early church, lays out qualities that every follower in Jesus should possess; I am guessing each one of them you could say, “I already knew that.” The question is, do we understand? Listen as Peter writes in his guide to having a faith that will never fail…
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” -2 Peter 1:5-7
This entire passage builds on itself. The words ‘add to’ literally translates from the Greek word ‘into’. Peter is describing a transformative, and I think linear progression of faith development. Turn your faith into goodness, and your goodness into knowledge, and your knowledge into…and so on.
So what does he mean by knowledge? Is this head knowledge or something else?
Peter gives us a hint at what he means when he uses this word. In one of his letters, he uses the exact same word as he was breaking down the husband and wife relationship, check it out:
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect” – 1 Peter 3:7a (NIV)
It could also be translated like this: “in an understanding way as you live.” Do you see the difference?
Peter isn’t just talking about acquiring knowledge, all though that is part of it. Add to your life the kind of knowledge that helps you understand how to live. Where do we get that understanding? From God of course, and more specifically through reading His Word, the Bible.
Chuck Swindoll, in his book Searching the Scriptures (which I would highly recommend by the way if you are new to reading and understanding the Bible) writes that studying the Bible has three distinct benefits:
That is what you need. That’s what I need. And that is the kind of knowledge the Bible offers, and the kind of knowledge that will transform your life. All of our relationships and decisions would flourish so much if we had it. Paul writes to the Roman Christians…
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Want a different kind of marriage than the rest of the world?
Want to be a different kind of person than you are used to encountering?
Do you want to be the kind of friend people want to have around?
Do you have a plan gaining that kind of wisdom, insight and understanding?
Start reading the Bible today, and yes, do it everyday. It is an embarrassment that many of us are not students of the Bible, but we have logged how many hours on Netflix? We have not missed one quarter of our favorite collegiate football team games, but we struggle to read and study the bible for 15-30 minutes daily? Or even every other day?
When life gets hard, it will be a source of wisdom, insight and understanding for you.
Here are two quick strategies for you to start reading the Bible today:
1.The first one is called SOAP, and it has been around a long time. All you need is a bible, a pen and paper (or the youversion bible app). Here is how it works:
Scripture: Pick a book of the bible. Read until a verse hits you. Write it down.
Observation: Ask Who, What, Where, When, Why, How questions. Write the answers down.
Application: How can this scriptural truth apply to your life? Write it down.
Prayer: Thank God for the insight, and then ask for help as you apply your new understanding.
2.The second, are the five questions I ask while reading a chapter of Scripture.
If you implement a habit of regularly reading and studying God’s word, you will add the kind of knowledge that will transform you into a better version of you. Daily reading of the Bible refreshes you because it is from the very breath of God.
“There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” -2 Timothy 3:15-17 (MSG)
Who doesn’t want that? Knowledge, literally from the mouth of God. You actually have access to the one who knows it all. It’s a wonder that we don’t read more. Try it. It can be quite refreshing.
Lead Pastor, Southside Church Henry County