The best way to know Jesus is through the study of His Word. Most of us assume this goes without saying, but if I’ve learned anything as a pastor, it’s that there isn’t anything that goes without saying. Let me be plain. If you want to know Jesus, you have to love and study His Word. Notice I said “study,” not “read.” Christ’s followers should cultivate a deep hunger and love to know the Scriptures. For in knowing the Scriptures, we know Christ Himself.
Reading the Bible for rules to live by is fine, but it’s the shallowest way to read the Bible. We read the Bible, not so much to know the rules, but to know Christ. Think about it. When we open the Scriptures, we open this divine book in the presence of the Author and Subject of the book.
Christ has given us His Spirit to walk beside us and guide us into all truth. As we encounter His Word, it shapes us more and more into His likeness–the same way His word formed the universe in creation. His heart becomes our heart. His thoughts become our thoughts. His desires are ours. We have been crucified with Christ and are now dead to our sins. It’s not we who live, Paul reminds us, but Christ.
This is the divine perspective that allows us to find wisdom of Christ in how we face the world. Following Christ, we engage the world in those places where brokenness and confusion rob lives of meaning and hope. We stand in the places where relativism and individualism muddle morality to a place where no one can understand it. This is the place we dig in. This is where we identify the gray areas and begin to speak truth into them. But as we speak this truth, we do it with a God-love in mind.
In the end, there is no shortcut. In order to deal with these complicated issues of our post-modern culture, a disciple of Jesus must study Scriptures in the presence of the Divine Author so that the disciple understands not only the literal meaning of the text, but the heart of the One who gave us the text.