Why Do We Have to Study the Bible?
Some days ago, Misael S. wrote to me, asking: “Why do we have to read and study the Bible?” If you ever face such a question, you don’t need my help to answer it. I’m sure that your answer will be well. The first answer which comes to our mind is, of course: “Because the Bible is the Word of God.” Many Bible quotes may support it, like:
“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2:2)
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
However, when a kid asks us a “Why” question like that, it gives us the opportunity for a longer explanation. So let me show you what I answered to Misael. I think it may help your teaching.
When an expert in the law tested Jesus by asking him about the greatest commandment in the Law, the Lord replied:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
Jesus was quoting the book of Deuteronomy:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)
If you read these two verses to your kids, you can invite them to find out what Jesus added to the Deuteronomy verse.
“With all your mind” – Right!
There is no agreement between scholars about how we have to understand loving with heart, soul, strength, and mind.
However, let me tell you how I teach the kids of my Sunday School about it, which may be useful for you as well:
Love God with all your heart
Everyone have feelings and when we love someone, we do it through our feelings. Jesus wants us to love God without division of any kind, with all our being involved, so loving God also implies loving him like men and women love, with feelings.
Love God with all your soul
That’s more difficult for kids. Everyone has a soul, the deeper spiritual dimension of our beings. Loving the Lord is not just loving him with our feelings, there is also another level of love which is the spiritual one, and God wants to be loved spiritually as well.
Love God with all your strength
Here I identify our strength with our deeds. In the letter of James, we read: “faith without deeds is dead”, but don’t rebuke me for adapting it to: “love without deeds is no love.” Saying we love God with our heart and soul but not showing our love to the Lord with deeds helping the others, like the Good Samaritan, is not the true and undivided love which God is asking from us.
Love God with all your mind
And finally we love with the mind. Jesus does not want us to have a blind or ignorant faith, that’s the reason he asks us to love God with the mind as well. So, to love God with our whole being, the mind must be involved, too. To love with the mind, we have to study the Word of God to be able to better understand him, in order to love him more.
That’s the reason we Christians study throughout our whole lives. We long to know more and more things about God. By knowing him more, we will love him more, and as we love him more, the bigger our desire is to know him better.
I love the image which C. S. Lewis used to express it in the Chronicles of Narnia books:
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
So keep up studying, teaching, and helping your kids to grow, my brothers and sisters.
PS. I truly appreciate your comments here; you help other parents and teachers to raise their kids closer to God.