Educated Beyond Our Obedience

Let me say something that might surprise you:

Knowing biblical teaching will NOT change your life.

Yep, I just said that.  And yes, I am a pastor.  Let me explain.

We live in an age and culture that has more access to scripture and scripture teaching than any generation/culture before it.  We have hundreds of translations, millions of books, and endless online sermons.  Yet, the statistics on church decline (in America) are staggering.

It is my contention that our issue is not knowing biblical teaching (although I know the studies on this are troubling also).  It is my contention that we are educated beyond our obedience.

Knowing biblical teaching will not transform your life.  Obeying biblical teaching (living it) will transform your life. 

Each week there is a growing pressure on pastors/teachers to give a “new and exciting” teaching.  We have itching ears to hear something we “have not heard before”.  However, are we missing the point?  If we are brutally honest, there is almost no expectation that the community of believers will actually put into practice the implications of the gospel.  Sermons are a big deal.  Living the content of the sermons are optional.

The predominant question of folks leaving worship is this “How did you like the sermon?”  One pastor, aware of this, created a report card.  The report card, however, was not designed to grade the sermon.  Instead, it was given to the community to grade themselves- their faithfulness and obedience to the life of Christ.

What grade would you give yourself this week?  Do you live the biblical teaching you hear each week?

(Read the parable of the houses built on the sand and rocks (Matthew 7).  What is the difference between the two?)


  1. Ron Harper September 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I agree. Let me defer to being an educator. There is a huge difference in knowing about something and then applying what is known or learned. Ideally, we should become so well rounded that we eventually take these previously learned ideas or concepts, use them with others, and come up with something new for their application. Sometimes I think we make church and sermons harder than what they should be. When in doubt…WWJD.That’s our model for everything and that includes doing church, preparing sermons, and living everyday.

  2. Bob September 4, 2012 at 5:57 am

    In what other area of life are we asked to acquire/apply a new or different concept every week? Going further, what other area of life is *measured* week to week?

  3. Bob September 4, 2012 at 7:10 am

    I think the problem stems from the confusion of preaching (which is what happens in a sermon) and teaching (which is what happens in discipleship). Pastors are trained to have “life application” as part of their preaching which blurs the line between preaching and teaching. The week-to-week monologue is not the optimal format for teaching. It is a fitting format for the proclamation of the Gospel.

    But few understand how to open the Scriptures to simply preach the Good News of Christ and Him crucified and resurrected. The Advent of the Kingdom of God.

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