The cold “clickety-clack” sound, the motion, the rolling down the hall on the cart, you shiver. Eyes on the ceiling, studded cold bright lights flash past, you turn the corner into the elevator. Exiting the ‘cave’, your gurney is shoved past streams of scrub clad humans flying around. A ruptured appendix, you feel sick with pain, and now this. Surgery. You shiver again as you enter Pre-Op. The nurse-anesthetist comes and introduces himself, another nurse is giving you some meds and questions are flung at you from all sides. Your abdomen is in pain and you feel sick, and cold. Another shiver. More questions, questions that you’ve already answered a hundred-million times.
A knock on your wall and the curtain is pulled back, she walks in, scrubs, safety glasses on top of the head, a mask pulled down under the chin and a head covering banded around with a fluff on top. Dr. Wilson she says. Your surgeon. You say hi. You talk a few minutes. For some reason you decided to ask her of her education. Highs school drop out she says. What? Failed all her college classes. Never even graduated with an Associate degree. No medical school? Shivering before? not like now. You scream for the nurse, you almost fly off the bed, snatching the IV medication bag in one hand, you spring through the automatic doors. Your other hand is wrapped around your back trying to a hold together the ends of that two sizes too small, can’t quite get together in the back, gown. Scream! No one cares. Scream again…scream and run….
Bad dream, I hope that’s all it was. But really, when you go to the doctor, you expect some sort of knowledge, don’t you?
As a follower of Christ, you also need knowledge.
Now I’m not necessarily talking about a degree or even classes. But you need knowledge. You need understanding of what Christ wants you to do and how to follow him. His kingdom has rules you need to know. But there’s more, if you don’t know what you believe and why you believe it, if you have no reasons for your beliefs, how are you going defend what you believe and prevent yourself from other silly beliefs? Here I want to give you specific areas that you can work on for knowledge. You will want to fill in these areas of your Christian life with good sources of “education” so you know truth and can give reasons to others.
Know Biblical Truth
We all know it, but I find it interesting that many don’t really think it. Some focus on the pleasures of life, sports, fun, hunting, fishing, vacations, romance novels and movies. Others focus on “religious” books and dogmas that are held as high as Scripture. Others stake their claim on their culture and traditions. Still others are convinced by charismatic personalities and thoughts claiming to have a direct line to God or God is speaking through them. What they say is the Spirit’s thoughts. While these may not be bad in themselves (some I have great concerns with), these are not God’s word.
Primarily, one needs to know biblical truth and have a biblical worldview. This can only come by reading the Bible, memorizing passages and understanding the concepts presented. Foundational theological understanding builds the stones of your faith, obedience to God builds the mortar and the building is roofed with the large, biblical worldview umbrella that ties all the biblical concepts together. These steps alone can divert much deception.
I know, it sounds pretty simple, but you would be surprised how many forget the basics.
While having a broad deep understanding of Scripture is ideal for knowledge, a new believer can’t have this right out of the gate. I have learned, over the years, that it is sometimes better to have a few powerful pieces of knowledge under your belt and not just a superficially knowledge of many biblical concepts. It is better to know some passages well, ones that you know your faith will be challenged in, and not trying to cram a whole bunch last-minute. Think of the military. A soldier who learns few weapons can far outperform one who stockpiles ammunition, guns, knives and weapons, but who has no knowledge of their use. The second will be handicapped in battle because of no knowledge.
Each of us will have to prepare differently here, each one of us will be from different cultures that have different challenges. I can’t really tell you which Bible passages will be the most useful to start learning. Let’s say you are exposed to a lot of materialists, you will be learning one set of passages. You will be learning another set if you are often exposed to pseudo-Christian cults. Wiccans near by will make you want to prepare with other passages to defend the gospel. Some will be in situations where they can talk about salvation, while others will be dealing with issues of abortion. Many will overlap, but you will know what you need when you start dealing with others of deviant persuasions.
So preparation starts now. “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.”
Reading Good Books Helps Guide Your Thinking
One once said, “You will be the same person tomorrow as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Books are like teachers. If you have good books, you will learn a lot. The Bible is primary, but there are other books that can help you as well.
Some Christians are opposed to reading books because they feel they may be deceived. This could happen, anything can technically happen, sure the sky may fall as well. But from my experience this is not the case. Yes, there are books out there that you would not want to touch with a “ten foot pole” and others that you want to read with your “mental filter” on. But there are many good books that can help you grow and encourage your walk with Christ and help you gain knowledge. Those who are against reading books and learning are weak in understanding, they make really silly mistakes in their thinking and are not ready to defend the truth. No wonder, they have no depth!
Rather good leaders are good readers. Books are good. They help prevent deception. We need to learn from those who have gone on before. Gaining knowledge of God and his ways is not opposed to faith, as some say. This view is kinda funny, it sure strikes me that Jesus had knowledge, he seemed to have a lot. In fact he imparted much to his disciples for at least two years. I know of no place in the Bible that teaches we should learn less. You see, faith can only come by learning, that is the only mechanism (Romans 10:17). So this view of “faith vs. knowledge” is incoherent and false.
We also know Paul had books (2 Timothy 4:13). Now no one knows if the books he had were only Scripture, other books or both. But we do know he had them. Also, Paul knew some of the works of the Greek poets (Acts 17:28). With that knowledge he could understand the culture and use it to persuade some to Christ.
Audio sources are also great for knowledge accumulation. They are even better if you are always on the go. Just like books, they are a way to gain much knowledge from those who have gone on before you. They can introduce you to ancient Hebrew practices, early church beliefs and practices, and they can explain hard concepts that are best done from the mouth of a teacher. Plus you can listen to them over and over.
It seems that Paul was all for education. For example, Acts 19:9 (KJV) says this about Paul “But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.” The word “disputing” is the Greek word “dialegomai” which is very similar to our word “dialectics”. It can mean discussing, teaching, reasoning, disputing or arguing (in the technical sense). It is a perfectly good enterprise to undertake, discussion to learn truth is as old as humans, it is a God-given gift.
Like said before, the KJV translates it as “disputing”, and it could be that he argued with the students and teachers at that school. However, just as legitimate of a translation of this word in this specific context can be found in the NET “But when some were stubborn and refused to believe, reviling the Way before the congregation, he left them and took the disciples with him, addressing them every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.” (Some manuscripts add from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) The passage goes on to say he did this for two years. This sounds to me that he taught classes, which one can assume, on Christianity.
Bible and Books, Sermons and School
You see, education is one of our greatest God-given defense against deception. The more you know, the more you will be prepared for those who you interact with. The better the answers and the better the interactions.
That’s what iApologia is here for. There are other tools in the“bag-o’tricks” for deception prevention. You will not want to miss the next posts about proper use of knowledge and bolstering of what you have gained. If you found this helpful, you will want to keep an eye open for the next post. The best way is to click here, because you can get them straight to your inbox so you don’t miss out! (Click here.)
What biblical passages have you learned to help you in conversations with others? What other resources would you recommend for those who are trying to prepare to build knowledge to prepare for interaction?