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Love God With All Your Mind

August 6, 2013

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38, ESV)

Many ask how I feel about the usefulness of formal education in theology and other areas of the Christian endeavor. I fully support, and recommend, education in these areas. In fact, I feel so highly about studies, I recommend self-study in a variety of topics. There is a need to be well-rounded in areas of study; a study in Scripture alone will allow someone to feel vulnerable and unequipped to handle some of the issues facing the church.

For example, there is much to be said about the creation. Multiple views are currently being debated. While you may not desire to be an expert on this topic, it is healthy to understand the generalities of each position so you may effectively engage in conversation with people who hold a particular position you may not agree with. There are just as many arguments about the end times going on. Spend time learning about them in an effort to make educated decisions.

Another area to consider spending time studying as an overview is other world religions. For example, if you live in an area with a high population of followers of Islam, take time to learn about their faith. Taking time to learn about another faith shows respect and fair consideration towards it and its followers. It will allow you to have an intelligent conversation about the topic. In most cases it will also earn you an audience for a conversation about your faith because you have taken the time to investigate and learn about their faith. You could do this about Judaism, Baha’i, Buddhism, or other faith groups. Again, you are looking at these faiths to gain a better understanding of what its adherents believe and why they believe that way.

One argument I hear frequently is “the Bible contains all the knowledge I need.” I can simply argue that is not true. The Bible does not teach you the mathematics used to balance a checkbook. Also, it is not an all-inclusive history book even of the eras it covers. Without seeking knowledge from the historical and sociological arenas, much of the context of the Bible would be lost on the modern-day readers. This argument is in itself a reason to explore more areas than just the Bible.

Christians are frequently considered dumb because they rest all of their knowledge on the Bible. Notice its knowledge, not faith? Most will not argue with putting your faith in what the Bible says, but they will argue correctly that the Bible is not the fount of all knowledge. Go gain knowledge from other places also. Round your personal growth and education, formal or informal, with many topics from many sources – even read books by authors who you know you will disagree with. It can only help round you better. Pursue information with fervor.

Do not let someone else’s studies become your only fount of knowledge. I am not saying you need to enroll in a college or seminary. I am saying read and do self-study. Get a passion for learning. Create a study group with friends and work one topic or book at a time. If you are driving all the time, get audio books of important topics and listen to them driving down the road. Simply hit the books and start learning. And most importantly, love the Lord your God with your entire mind.

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