Currently, we are in the middle of the TEN series at Youth Group. This past Sunday, I taught the high school group. As we read the third of the Ten Commandments, we discussed how much of the true meaning has been lost over time. Instead of only refraining from using God’s name in vein (in speech), we should really abstain from misusing God’s name in anything we do.
Continuing in that thought, we discussed the Pharisees. They knew so much head-knowledge about God from their study of the Law and Prophets, but they often misused God’s name in their actions and speech. Here is a quote from Andy Stanley that I thought was of particular importance.
“You can spend your entire life believing in God but never have a relationship with Him. You can think you know everything about God and not know Him at all.”
I often wonder what the balance should be in churches. How much importance should be placed on studying the Bible, and how much should be placed on the relationship and actions? I know there are churches out there who stress one or the other. I think both are important, but I do not know if they are of EQUAL importance. At the end of our lives, will God judge us based on our Bible trivia knowledge, or will He judge us based on our relationship with Him? Granted, if you are in a strong relationship with Him, you should want to read and study the Bible… Until a person gets to that point, though, what is the proper balance? We do not want to end up like the Pharisees and just be filled with lots of information about God but miss the relationship, and in turn, do things that mishandles or exploits His name.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
2 thoughts on “Knowledge vs. Relationship – Looking for Balance in Ministry”
Good stuff! Knowing things about God does not equate to knowing God. And the goal is to know God, not just to know things about God.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. — JESUS (John 17:3)
The goal of Christian faith is to know God and Jesus Christ. It is all about relationship, not rule keeping. The goal of Bible study, prayer, and life is to know God better, not just to be a better person. But we will only know God better when we die to self and live in Christ. Or as Paul puts it, when we are crucified with Christ so that we no longer live, but rather Christ lives in us. It is in this life and experience that we will come to know God. The ancient texts of Scripture point us to this and call us to this: to explore this new life of discovery about God and his kingdom.
Jesus explained it this way to some of the Jews who lived in his day: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40).
Scriptures are a tool. Life is found in Christ.