It is no secret that Bible-knowledge within the church is at an alarmingly low rate. The obvious reason is that people are simply not reading their Bibles. But what is ironic is that while Bible knowledge is decreasing Christian book sales are actually rising.
You would think that people’s Bible knowledge would be increasing if they are reading Christian books. But it is not. Perhaps, because many of the “Christian” books that they are reading are not grounded in Scripture but more self-help and worldly philosophy. That is probably one of the main reasons.
But I think there is another reason. And it is one that pastors have to be certain not to foster, or be guilty of themselves. What I am referring to is the danger of a second-hand faith. Andrew Fuller saw the danger in this years ago when he said*:
“Truth learned only at second-hand will be to us what Saul’s armor was to David; we shall be at a loss how to use it in the day of trial.”
This is why Fuller (and you can see the most any great expositor followed this pattern) soaked himself in the Scriptures before even consulting his commentaries. Fuller knew the importance of owning the text himself. He knew that he needed to wrestle with the text before he consulted “experts”.
There are those in our day who would run with this and NEVER consult commentaries. They face an equal danger of prideful self-sufficiency. But there are also many that do not take up the text themselves and wrestle with it. And hence, they are biblically ignorant, and they fight every day without the sword they have been given.
So, read the Scriptures for yourself. Wrestle with the text. And THEN get some help in understanding…
From (Paul Brewster; Andrew Fuller: Model Pastor-Theologian, p46)