Now, I know that the best stories are those that show the best or the worst of us––extremes always make for good copy––so I wasn’t surprised when the reporter shared the “how little” side of the poll. Out of the one hundred questions on the Naturalization Test, the reporter asked about five of the relatively easy ones, ones that probably every citizen should know. Unfortunately, these filmed few, didn’t.
Though most of us hang onto the rights of the Constitution with a chokehold, I would wager that very few of us have taken a peak at it, let alone studied it, since we were tested on it back in the eighth grade or reviewed portions of it during our government class our senior year of high school. That is unless our field of study required it, or a trivia contest brought some of it back to memory. (I have attached the link to the one hundred questions below so that you can test or refresh your memory.)
This same lapse of memory often occurs when we have to take the written driving test again. Though we claim to know the what the laws or the road are, suddenly the actual laws are a bit fuzzy.
Over time, these lapses change the way we remember the laws allowing us to manipulate the truth a bit in our favor, and our reality takes on a personal hue.
Many Christians have fallen into a similar pattern regarding the Bible. We say we know its contents––we claim its promises; and we quote some well-worn verses––but sometimes there is a gap between what we think it says and what it actually says because our actual reading it and studying it has lapsed, thereby causing some personal “hues” to seep in and color our knowledge and understanding.
As an English teacher I could always tell which students had actually read the book and which ones had gleaned their knowledge from Cliffs Notes or the internet. The latter may have been able to recite a few main characters, recount a sweeping theme, or spout off a motif or two, but they didn’t know how it all fit together. They couldn’t understand the author’s intent nor appreciate his or her skill.
The Bible both encourages and commands us to study God’s word.
Psalm 1:2 says the blessed man has “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 shows the value of knowing all of the bible: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
And Paul reminds Timothy that he should “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
As Christians we need to know what the Bible says, not rely on what we think it says or on what others have told us it says. We need to see each verse in its context, so we can understand its true meaning, not pull it out of context to make it fit our personal agenda.
Our Constitution is the law of the land, our vehicle code the law of the road, both important. But the Bible is the law of our soul, of our salvation, of our ability to live in harmony with God and others. If your reading of the Bible has lapsed, then I encourage you to pick it back up and start reading again, whether a chapter(s) or a verse(s) a day, and then meditating on those words. God has promised to bless you and guide you because of your faithfulness.