Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
–Proverbs 9:9-10 (NASB)
Using a sourdough starter in a dough often imparts a certain distinctive flavor to the finished bread. Often, but not always. Starter that is not used in sufficient quantities, or given sufficient time to ferment will not impart much flavor. The composition of the dough matters, too.
In my experience, adding a lot of sugar, butter, milk or eggs may cover the flavor of the starter. Adding a pinch of baking soda to a dough is supposed to neutralize some of the acids in the starter and thus decrease the “sour” flavor of the bread.
In the same way, simply reading the Bible, or having it present in your home, isn’t going to impart the distinctive qualities of Christ to your life.
In the Peace Corps we had a lot of time on our hands sometimes. Reading was a good way to fill that time, and many of us used it as a chance to read some of the classics we’d never gotten around to.
Many volunteers, Christian and otherwise, including me, were reading through the Bible, which led to the following sorts of conversations:
“Dude, did you get to Samson yet?”
“Yeah, that guy was crazy!”
But all of that reading didn’t do most of us any good. We didn’t live lives that reflected knowledge of God.
Our reading wasn’t about searching out the will of God but checking things off a list of “Classic Literary Works” or “Important Cultural Influences”.
Some of the seeds that were planted may have born fruit later, and in my case I know that was true, but by and large we didn’t allow the words that passed through our minds to penetrate our hearts.
I think this can happen even with sincere believers. If we read our Bible every day but don’t let our preconceptions of who Yahweh is and what He wants from us be challenged, we won’t benefit from it as much as we will if we approach study prayerfully and with an attitude of humility and willingness to be taught.
We need to take the time it may require to properly address questions the text raises, and put them into the context of what God’s word says as a whole. We need to look at our lives with honesty to see where we can apply God’s word and make changes.
The fear of the Lord is the instruction for Wisdom, and before honor comes humility.
–Proverbs 15:33 (NASB)