How important is it for us to put our knowledge of the Bible into practice?

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Jesus said that you should be very careful how you hear. And he said, "To the one who has even more will be given. The one who does not have, even what he has" — go figure — "will be taken away." And I think what he's saying to us is there are ways in which we have to be careful how we hear, intellectually, but then practically, there are ways in which we have to be very careful how we hear. In other words, he's saying that if you don't put it into practice, you're going to lose it. If you put it into practice, you'll be given more. So, I don't think that we can expect to grow in our understanding of the Bible unless we're putting into practice what we're hearing as we hear it. Also, if we don't put it into practice, we don't become very effective teachers for other people because we're only talking about something that we have no experience of. But if we have experience of it, we'll talk about it very differently. For example, if I'm trying to put into practice loving my wife, I'm not going to be too hard on you because I know how hard this is — or really, I should say it's hard for her to love me. But I know how hard it is. We need the grace of God. And so, there'll be a graciousness in my presentation because I've been trying to put this into practice, and I know how difficult it is. On the other hand, positively, as I put it into practice, I know how important it is, and therefore, there will be a sense of urgency as I teach this to other people. So, there's a spiritual context, as well as an intellectual one, that is only enhanced as I put into practice what I'm interpreting from the Bible.

Answer by Dr. Sanders L. Willson

Rev. Sanders L. Willson served as Senior Minister at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, TN, until retiring in 2017. He has also served on the boards of The Gospel Coalition, Union University and Reformed Theological Seminary.