Engage the mind to reach the heart

I originally entered my Christian college not realizing that biblical literacy means nothing if it is purely academic. When women tell me that they can’t understand the Bible quite like someone with a college degree, I can’t stop from blurting out the fact that I almost aced my college Bible courses without truly knowing my Bible. Some of my friends did. Degrees and accomplishments mean very little to God if none of it grows a desire and love for him. The Bible engages our minds to reach our hearts.

I didn’t start to love the Bible until after my freshman year of college, when really poor choices finally caught up to me, and I realized how much I needed God’s word. I met my future husband the next year, and he introduced me to a great local church. I began to understand how much I needed a church family. Then, my lack of biblical literacy became evident, and I realized how hungry and thirsty I was for solid doctrine. I began to use my electives for counseling and missions courses. At one point, I was able to take a course that my pastor was teaching. Most of my classmates were missions or Bible majors, but to my surprise, many of them disliked the class because you had to know your Bible. Bibles were allowed during testing, but you had to know where to go to find the answers. My pastor asked me if I liked the class, which of course, I did. I had never used the Bible to understand life and to know how to teach someone else. I had always thought that you had to have select passages memorized so that you could spew out answers. I knew random verses, but I never knew how the Bible connected as a whole. I had carried this book with me for a large portion of my life, not knowing how each narrative told of one big story about Christ. Some classmates thought the class was too hard. Many egos were hurt and bruised, but everyone recovered when the class was done. The reality is, there are many people walking around knowing about the Bible, but unless it changes you — unless it works inside your heart and grows your desire for God — it is merely a certificate on the wall, a sparkling “A” on your transcript, another trophy to wow your competitors. Those things will fade away, and much faster than anyone wants to admit.

Don’t settle for mediocre

It is possible to go through the Christian life and simply read a chapter of the Bible each day, pray over each meal you eat, attend church, and go about your usual life. It is easy not to let your study of the Bible spill out into your affections and change your desires. All of these things happen to many women each day, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

God used my education to change my heart. I want every woman to know that it is possible to grow without those accomplishments, though. It’s good simply to pursue knowing your Bible. Every time you open your Bible is an opportunity to grow your love and delight for God. Biblical literacy is not just for the world of academia, it is for every believer. As God’s word sinks into our hearts and minds, we will find our lives being changed to be more like the person the Bible is about: Jesus Christ.

Don’t view maturity as old-fashioned

Have you ever pictured a godly woman as someone out of touch with reality? Someone who can’t have a normal conversation with a nonbeliever? Throw that picture out the window. Now, picture a woman who isn’t blown over by difficult circumstances, emits love for others with every action, teaches you how to fight temptation, gives freely of what God has given her…are you starting to get a clearer picture? If we soak up Scripture every day then our lives will reflect that same beauty we see in the Bible. A life immersed in truth cannot be left unchanged. Those whom God has redeemed become more like their Redeemer. Change isn’t instantaneous, and some days we falter, but over the long course of devoted study and love for God’s Word, we will be changed.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18

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