I remember sitting in the classroom at the close of my second semester of graduate school and coming to a pretty significant realization. Amidst the other classes I had taken, I had just finished the two parts of our Old Testament Survey class. I had essentially spent 9 months in lectures, read thousands of pages, written a handful of research papers, and taken a handful of exams. It hit me that I had more questions about the Bible on that day than when I began. I don’t think that is an indictment on my professors, but rather a realization of how BIG our God is and how expansive, awesome, and powerful are his scriptures.
It is very important to say here that there are some fundamental beliefs that shouldn’t change. We are constantly learning new words/vocabulary as english speakers, but we are not adding letters to the alphabet. There is a basic foundation that supports our continued wrestling and understanding of God and his word. We have to start with a foundation and that foundation must be the Bible. From the Bible we are then able to answer other questions and dive into deeper issues by using that ‘plumb line’ to answer our questions.
I am convinced that if our beliefs are not being challenged and aren’t changing to some extent, then we are not searching for truth in the pages of scripture. Often times what I hear from people is an expectation of how God should function and then a journey through the scriptures to confirm those expectations. That is the recipe for a domesticated and neutered God.
Many of the greatest growth surges in my spiritual journey have been sitting down with one or two others while flipping through the pages of the Bible to answer questions about the person and work of God. Many of those produced a journey in my life which radically changed my spiritual life. We are in a very dangerous place when we reach the level of arrogance of thinking we have God figured out.
I can mark my spiritual journey over the past 10 years with some very significant changes in the way I view God. The continued study of the Bible will and MUST change our thinking. I am so thankful for the growth and stretching in my life as I have wrestled through difficult topics and passages in scripture. I am also very thankful for those who have come along side of me and been a safe place to have these conversations.
In my own personal journey over the past two years, my views on spiritual warfare have radically changed. As often happens, I didn’t have beliefs that were informed by studying the scriptures. My views were informed by what made me feel comfortable and what information had been handed to me by other people. This is just one example of so many in my personal spiritual journey.
Have you experienced this in your own life? Are there views or beliefs that have changed for you after spending significant time in the God’s word and in discussion with others? Do you have some relationships that provide you a safe place to wrestle with scripture… relationships in which you can be yourself and ask questions that might feel weird?
Matt Powell serves as teaching pastor at Crossings Community Church, a body of believers whose mission is to engage, equip, and empower homes for gospel transformation in Katy, TX.