Posted in: Leadership
Pastors are Bible Guys
By Scott Thomas, President of Acts 29
Pastors and church planters must be Bible guys. In order to be able to teach (as a biblical qualification of all pastors), we have to know our Bibles well and be able to defend its central truths with clarity and passion. A bit of winsomeness never hurt either.
In his book, Brothers, We Are NOT Professionals (Broadman and Holman, 2002), author and Pastor-scholar John Piper said that every pastor should become a biblical theologian. “If we are going to feed our people, we must ever advance in our grasp of Biblical truth,” Piper said. We have to be like Jonathan Edwards who among his seventy resolutions said:
“Resolved: To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.”
Piper called out the common church today by claiming that its pastors turn away from the Bible to read what others say about the text. As a result, our sermons are regurgitated after another person has chewed on the text and our people are left without the nourishment that they need to grow spiritually because we are too lazy for “headache-producing meditation” on the texts that don’t make sense at first glance.
Reasons Pastors Resist being Bible Guys
1. It requires a lot of time and energy to ruminate on the text and ask key questions. Piper’s advice: “Slow down. Query. Ponder. Chew.”
2. It is unfashionable to systematize things and seek for biblical harmony and unity. It is easier to dabble on the surface and remain anti-intellectual.
3. It forces us to wrestle with the problem texts to see how differing passages with seemingly theological discrepancies fit together. Piper said, “If we care about truth, we must relentlessly query the text and form the habit of being humbly bothered by things we read.”
Cogitation Leads to Illumination
Paul commanded, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything” (2 Tim. 2:7). Piper contends that pastors and those who read their Bibles fail to understand Scripture because they fail to think. The gift of illumination does not replace meditation. It comes through meditation. Illumination is a gift to those who think.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8)
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night (Ps 1:2).
Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day (Psalm 119:97).
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways (Psalm 119:15).
I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes (Psalm 119:48).
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise (Psalm 119:148).
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands (Psalm 143:5).