The church I grew up in wasn’t perfect, but I will say this for them: they wanted everyone there to know the Bible. I memorized dozens of verses as a kid. We did Bible drills. We would fill out cards every week, letting the pastor know if we had read our Bible or not. And if our church programs (of which there were many) weren’t about evangelism, chances are they were focused on knowing the Bible better.
The older I get, the more I look back and appreciate the passion that church had for the Bible.
I’m not entirely sure why, but learning and teaching the Bible has fallen out of fashion within the megachurch movement. Generally, we aren’t ignoring the Bible altogether. Many large churches, however, don’t put nearly the same resources, time, and energy into training people in the Word as they do a dozen other aspects of their ministry. It’s a temptation the Summit is prone to as well.
But if we don’t focus on teaching our people the Bible, what are we doing? How can we possibly say we’re preparing our people for the trials of life? When Satan attacked Jesus, Jesus quoted Scripture. What will your kids comes up with when Satan attacks them? He will. In fact, he already is. You see, Jesus didn’t try to outwit Satan, though he probably could have. He didn’t try to exert his divine might to drive Satan away, though he could have. Instead, he did what you and I can do: he quoted the Bible.
(And—for the objectors out there—Jesus had to learn Scripture, too. Luke points out that Jesus wasn’t born with the Bible memorized. In other words, he went to first-century AWANA.)
When life cut Jesus, he bled God’s Word. I want our people to bleed God’s Word, too. I want to see our people—our kids, our families, our college students, our retirees, our stay-at-home moms—so saturated with Scripture that they can’t help but talk about it, share it, and apply it. I want them bringing their Bibles to church on the weekend, talking about the Bible in small groups throughout the week, memorizing Bible verses in their personal time with God. If there’s one thing our people know, let’s make that one thing Bible.
One of the prayers we have for our student ministry is that we would see a “harvest coming in and an army going out.” We want our children to grow up armed in apologetics, applying the Bible to every aspect of culture. Can you imagine what it might look like if we raised up and sent out Bible-loving, Bible-knowing students to be government leaders, business leaders, and culture creators? Wouldn’t that change the face of our city?
For most of us, the problem isn’t that we don’t know how valuable the Bible is. The problem is that we have never brought our practice in line with our beliefs. For instance, if I offered you $500,000 to never touch the Bible again—never read it, hear it, talk about it, or even think about it—would you accept that deal? I’m guessing you’d say “no.” But think about that: you’ve just identified the Bible as an asset worth over $500K. Is there any other $500K asset you would simply ignore? If that shows you the value you place on the Word, why are you not devouring it?
It’s been said that the best way to confront a lie is to know the truth. Our world is filled with lies. Every day we are bombarded by false promises about what will make us happy, false hopes about what will bring us security. The lies come from outside, but they also come from within our own sinful hearts. We need a weapon to fight back, something to keep us from falling prey to the Enemy, who prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for people to destroy. The best weapon we can wield is the Word of God.
The Word of God is light. It is life. It is salvation. It was with a word that God created everything we see. It was by a word that Jesus gave sight to the blind, healed the sick, and forgave sins. It was by a word that Jesus was raised from the dead. By a word, Revelation says, God will destroy the works of the Enemy and make all things new. The Word—and the Word alone—prepares us to stand up to every challenge we face with courage. Let’s get this Word in our blood.
Plumb lines are a series of short, pithy statements that we, at the Summit, use as rallying points—both for our staff and for the entire church. They are a way to encapsulate our ministry philosophy in short, memorable phrases. Be sure to check out our entire list of plumb lines.