On November 22, 2008 the University of Oklahoma played Texas Tech in what college football analysts were calling the “Game of the Century.” Texas Tech was ranked number 2 in the country, and OU was ranked number 4. It may not have been the game of the century, but it certainly was the biggest game in Norman in nearly a decade, and as a Norman resident and avid OU football fan, I couldn’t wait to go to the game. As the game kicked off, however, I was not in attendance. In fact, I was not even watching the game on TV or listening to it on the radio. Instead of wearing crimson and cream, I was wearing a black suit, officiating the wedding of a friend.
Now before you get the wrong impression, know that I was actually very happy to be officiating this wedding. As a pastor, this is one of my favorite moments, to be able to stand so close to two people committing their lives to one another. On this night, however, it put me in a chapel, rather than in the stadium.
After leaving the reception, I navigated my car from the chapel back to my house to try to watch the second half on TV. As I drove across town, I found myself taking a detour. Bypassing the highway, I wove my way through side streets, toward Oklahoma Memorial Stadium where the game was being played. If I could not be in the game myself, I at least wanted to be as near the game as possible. I wanted to see the fireworks shoot up after an OU touchdown, to hear the muted roar of the crowd, and to see the lights shining down on the action below. It was a beautiful sight! Though I was not in the game myself, I could at least catch a glimpse of greatness.
I was thinking of this as I read 2 Timothy 3:10-17 and reflected upon many of our attitudes toward God’s Word. I think many times we come to God’s Word wanting to drive by and “catch a glimpse of greatness.” We read the Scripture with the subtle feeling that the real action of the Christian life is being experienced by others. With this attitude, we read Scripture with hopes of seeing the fireworks in other people’s spiritual lives and hear the distant roar of other people’s praise of God. This way of thinking views the Scripture as a history book of other’s people’s experiences with God, and we drive out of our way on Sundays to just catch a glimpse of the action in their lives.
While the Christian Bible is certainly an accurate historical record that shows us the accounts of others encounters with God, that is not the purpose for God giving these words to us. God gives us His Word, not just to educate, but to equip. According to 3:15, He gives us His Word to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ” and 3:17 tells us that His Word is designed to make us “equipped for every good work.” To put this truth in our football game analogy, it is to say that God gives us His Word so that we might be “in the huddle” receiving His plays for our life, not just outside the stadium watching others live it out.
God desires that our study of His Word transform our lives. Does it transform yours? Do you come to Scripture to simply see others being “God’s man or woman” or are you receiving instruction from it on how your life is intended to go? From now on, try this. Every time you sit down to study God’s Word, do not close your Bible without answering the question, what does God want me to do based on the truth I just read. The Bible is a book designed to equip you for life, not just to entertain you with the lives of others.