Read John 5:39
39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! (NLT)
It is sadly possible to be an expert when it comes to the Bible but quite ignorant of Jesus. The religious leaders whom Jesus addresses here were in that category. The Scriptures had become a source of information, a set of rules to govern all areas of life. But when the one to whom Scripture pointed came along, these Bible experts didn’t recognise him.
Much of the Bible is story rather than doctrinal precepts. This doesn’t mean doctrine is unimportant. Rather it means that the Bible invites us to enter the story of God’s dealings with humankind. It reaches out to us in such a way that Bible reading can become interactive. It reads me as I read it.
So when we hear the Bible read or preached, it is not as a lecture giving us information to record and file away. It is not meant to merely provide us with proof texts to help us win arguments. We do well to study it carefully, but we allow it to study us.
Knowing the Bible is one thing, knowing the God of the Bible is another. Memorising verses from the Bible is one thing, letting those verses shape your life and be part of a wider story is another thing. Being informed by the Bible is one thing, being transformed by it is another.