In church this past Sunday, Bishop Ben Gibert of Detroit World Outreach made a statement that has really struck a chord with me regarding the value we place upon Biblical knowledge. He compared the way people approach learning in an academic setting with learning in a Christian setting. Being a Christian educator, you can see why this topic immediately piqued my interest. His statement was this: People are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on classes at a community center, a college, or a university because they feel that they will gain a tangible benefit from doing so. Even if the class were only to develop a skill or hobby like photography or ballroom dancing, people will pay for the opportunity to “better themselves.” Now compare that mindset with the one that comes from Biblical knowledge or Christian education. Could you imagine the response that most people would give to a church that offered a class and charged $50, $100 or more to attend? I’ve seen people complain loudly over Bible classes that have been offered where the attendees were asked to pay for a $10 book that they could keep.
The simple truth of it all is this – people simply don’t want to pay for something that they don’t value. If you truly value something, money is not object. How many stories have been told about parents who will stop at nothing, who will spare no expense to save the lives of their children? They do so because they value them. Students pursuing a career will pay for the bachelors, masters, or even the doctoral degree without flinching at the cost. Why? Because it is what they need in order to pursue a dream and they value it. Even Christ touched upon this concept in the Parable of the Hidden Treasure in Matthew 13:44. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
Harsh as it may sound, most people simply undervalue what is offered to them in the Bible. There are two reasons why this is true. First, many people feel that they give enough, because they view stewardship in the same way they view paying bills. Ever round up your payment on the water bill or send the IRS a tip? Me either – I pay for the water I use and Uncle Sam gets what I legally owe him. But my relationship with God is different. I’m not paying Him for services rendered because frankly, there isn’t enough money in existence to cover even a portion of it. Secondly, as Bishop shared, we under value Biblical knowledge because Satan has done all he can to cheapen it in our eyes so that He might destroy us and our relationship with God. And so our view of religious training and the value that it holds is diminished. We wouldn’t dare miss a masters’ class that we’re paying $400 a credit hour for, but skipping Sunday’s Bible class or missing our morning quiet time is much more easily done because we’ve been convinced that doing so won’t cost us anything.
What is the value of Biblical knowledge? It is in Scripture that we come to learn who God is and all that He has done for us. The Bible gives us the law and God’s principles for living a full and purposeful life – a life that meets our needs and allows us to serve God in pursuit of our ultimate destiny in Him. The Bible brings the Gospel of Jesus Christ into our lives, and through Him, we are given the opportunity to receive forgiveness of our sins, restore our relationship with the Father, and receive eternal life in Heaven.
Peace for today, hope for tomorrow, abundance for generations, and life eternally: how could you possible put a price tag on that?