Bible Study and the I Don't Knows
Typically, I find an online article or blog post and respond to it for Friday Conversations. Today, if you'll allow me to, I'd like to continue on with the conversation I started on here this week about Bible study...
I do some things that drive my husband crazy. No big surprise, right? I know they say “opposites attract” and I see couples where this certainly proves true. I wouldn’t say we are total opposites. We have a lot of common interests and our opinions on most topics compliment each other well.
Still, we can drive each other crazy. Ryan is practical. His mind works in a very logical way and he typically thinks things all. the. way. through.
Every now and then he will be explaining something to me. And that something will hit a mental wall in me. He doesn’t believe this but I swear it to be true. My mind shuts down.
Do not interpret. Lost in translation.
I think perhaps this could be a clinical condition. If he mentions something requiring math, construction or the mechanics of a thing, I check out. It bothers him.
But I say, let’s celebrate our uniqueness. I got to reading a series of articles the other day on denominational differences. I was learning about fundamentalism vs. progressive Christianity vs. evangelical believers. And I found it fascinating. I started to discus a few of the findings with him. And his eyes glossed over. I promise!
I find this quality among my ladies in Bible study all the time as well. Amazing as it seems to me, believers have varying levels of interest in biblical geography, original language, translations and church history. As the teacher, I stay on watch for “glossy eye syndrome.”
I have to be careful of another thing as well. Only God knows everything. And He’s not telling us everything He knows. Beware of anyone who claims to have all the answers.
For me, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned as a wife and a teacher... be OK saying “I don’t know.”
Where did we ever come up with the idea that good Christians have all the answers? Why are we afraid when we don’t know?
You know what “I don’t know” says about us? We believe God is bigger than us.
He has answers we don’t.
I also lead an online Bible study and read through the Bible chronologically in a year with a group of women. While I do study a lot and have fine-tuned my research skills, these ladies ask questions I don’t have the answers to all the time. If you spend any time studying God’s Word, you’ll have questions.
And I read all these articles. A student of my art. People smarter than me have formed opinions very different from mine. We study the same Scripture and arrive at vastly different conclusions. To which I say, “I don’t know.”
The temptation as a teacher is to come across as all-knowing. I work hard to refute that desire. I think a more truthful assessment is that a teacher should be the very best student. Always putting more time and effort into the topic matter than others in the group.
We read through Job in our chronological Bible group. A few of the women were miffed that God allowed him to go through so much - just to prove a point? We allow for a lot of honest dialogue in this group. One lady admitted it wasn’t enough for her that God gave back to Job after he’d suffered through his trials.
I don’t know.
The discussion was good. I did a lot of research on what theologians think about the story. I prayed through passages and read different translations. I did the leg work. So important. But God continues to teach me what I need to know.
And, if I did my job well as a teacher, these women have a greater desire to learn the lessons in Job that God has for them too.
As for my husband and his left-brained adventures, I keep trying. He has taught me a lot more than I knew ten years ago. Hopefully, I’ve done some teaching as well. For the rest, we’ll just have to find a way to live among the “I don’t knows.”