Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | June 6, 2011

With All Your Mind

I had more than one professor in college who despised Christians and who thought even less of the Bible. One of those professors challenged me to a spontaneous debate on the merits of Christianity and devoted the entire class period to our discussion. I accepted his challenge and for the next two hours answered his objections. In the course of our exchange his rhetoric betrayed the fact that he had not read the Bible, or at least not read it carefully. The first clue was when he talked about the “apple” that Eve had plucked from the branches of the “apple tree” in the Garden of Eden. An apple and an apple tree — really? A few years later, while leading a group of Christian students in Bible study, I  asked the students to introduce themselves and tell me their favorite Bible verse. One young lady said that her favorite verse is the one that says, “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” Not wanting to embarrass her, I replied that there was not a verse in the Bible that talked about tying a knot at the end of a rope but that there were plenty of verses about persevering in tough times.

Biblical literacy should be a concern and a priority for Christians. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). Most folks tend to do a better job of loving the Lord their God “with all your heart” than “with all your mind.” It’s much easier for us to read material that addresses the heart instead of the head. However, unless we rediscover and reclaim what it means to love God “with all your mind” we will do less to impact our world than God desires. Theologian Carl Henry put it this way, “Training the mind is an essential responsibility of the home, the church, and the school. Unless evangelicals prod young people to disciplined thinking, they waste — even undermine one of Christianity’s most precious resources.” With so many distractions, it’s easy for Christ-followers to spend less and less time in the kind of study of God’s Word that results in thinking deeply and living wisely. Snacking on Twitterisms or biblical soundbites is not enough to develop a strong Christian mind.

Biblical literacy should also be a concern and a priority for non-Christians. It’s difficult to grasp the full impact of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s unforgettable address on April 3, 1968 without some understanding of the Bible. King talked about getting to the mountaintop and seeing the Promised Land. And what about Ronald Reagan’s “Shining City on a Hill” address? Apart from some knowledge of the Bible, Milton’s “Paradise Lost” makes no sense. And, apart from some measure of Biblical literacy, it’s easy to miss the biblical nuances in works of literature like Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” or Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.” The Bible is worthy of study even by those who are not Christians. Educator and academic literary critic E.D. Hirsch wrote, “Far from being illegal or undesirable, teaching about the Bible is not only consistent with our Constitution, it is essential to our literacy.”

The Christ-follower has a responsibility to “love the Lord your God … with all your mind.” You cannot love the Lord “with all your mind” apart from the consistent and intentional study of God’s Word and apart from reading and reflecting on the things that challenge what we believe. It’s ok to expose yourself to ideas with which you disagree. Rather than fearing or avoiding these things we should embrace them as an opportunity to develop and strengthen our apologetics so that we can give an intelligent answer “to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). So, determine to “love the Lord your God … with all your mind.” Exercise your mind on a regular basis. It will do you and those you interact with a lot of good.


Responses

  1. Yes Sir!

  2. Very powerful message O; I am reminded of one of my favorite “off sayings” which is “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” We live in a CULTure where people would rather live by sayings rather than by the Word of God.

  3. Did you mean “King”? Just exercising…

    • Yes. Good eye. Thanks for catching this typo.

  4. Only been reading your blog since the beginning of the year…but I’d have to say this is my favorite to date. So many good nuggets in this post! My generation MUST KNOW his Word. On the contrary, many of us struggle with feeding our minds too much, while neglecting our own heart-building (Guilty!). May God and his Word mold his peoples into men and women of compassion AND conviction. Love it, Omar…

    • Thanks, Saul. You are absolutely right that each generation must know His Word. Blessings to you as you continue to love Him “with all your mind.”


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