I have been a Christian for 35 years. I spent 5 of those years as a Bible college student and I have been a preacher for 22 years. I realize almost everyday that I am far from having everything figured out about God and the Bible.
The Bible is full of so much information. It is hard to learn it all no matter how much time you devote to it. One of my favorite illustrations about the Bible is that it is like the ocean. It is so shallow in places that a little child can swim in it and so deep in places that the best diver cannot reach it depths.
Because of the amount and depth of the information contained in the Bible I give myself to continual study. I read books and blogs, I listen to sermons and lectures, I ask questions and listen closely to responses and I never stop trying to hear something new and informative.
Unfortunately it is easy to hear a teaching and become rigid in your thinking. We think to ourselves, “I have that all figured out” and we quit trying to learn. This often manifests itself in becoming argumentative and mean. There is an arrogance that develops as the mind hardens to a topic before it explores it completely.
For that reason I think a Christians needs to develop several qualities –
1. A Humble Attitude – Each person needs to be willing to admit that there might be someone who knows more than them. There might be someone who has insight on a topic that you have only slightly studied. Do you have an attitude that would recognize those possibilities?
2. A Teachable Spirit – Are you willing to learn? Are you willing to ask questions with the possibility that you might be wrong or that you have something to learn?
3. An Open Mind – Christians are called not to be blown around by every wind of doctrine, but we have to be willing to accept new ideas. We have to take new information and process it against we know from scripture. Would you be willing to accept something you had never thought before if it were proven to you?
4. A Stretchable Heart – Sometimes I have had to admit that I am wrong. Sometimes I have had to adjust my beliefs as the truth is shown to me. It is one thing to say, “I know” with the head and another thing to say “I know” with the heart.
I believe that for the Christian learning is a lifelong process. There is just so much to learn and know. For me, I ask questions of myself. I try to learn from others. I open myself up to new ideas. I try to think through all sides of arguments and discussions. I try to place each Bible teaching over a particular verse into the greater context of the Bible. As a result, each day opens up new ideas and revelations about God and his Word.
My knowledge is growing and I pray it always does. I hope the same for you.