Engage the Bible with Action

A common complaint I hear from pastors is that the problem with Christians today is they lack depth in God’s word. From my own experience, this is certainly true of some people. But when I look at the landscape of American Christianity, I don’t think depth is really our problem. From blogs, to podcasts, to seemingly endless Bible study resources, we have more access to the Bible and excellent teaching than any other generation in history.

The greatest problem of American Christians when it comes to the Bible is not that we are not deep in God’s Word. The problem is that we are not active in God’s Word. We have a lot more revelation than our current level of active application. And revelation without application leads to stagnation.

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is “living and active.” The Bible was never meant to simply be a source of passive theological epiphanies that we gain as we delve deeper into it. It was meant to be a force that penetrates and delves deep into us and activates action.

I wonder if what we need is to gain a true understanding of what “depth” actually means. Deep teaching and preaching is not when I give my people insights they have never heard of before that will never be seen again when they disappear into the vacuum of their minds or a drawer that holds all of their sermon notes. Deep teaching is teaching that enables, equips, and empowers people to live in light of the deep truths they are encountering.

The point of the study of the Bible is not to learn things you’ve never heard of before but to begin living in a way nobody has seen before. And this can only be the result of active engagement with God’s Word, not merely increased depth in God’s Word.  

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Steven Furtick
Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Elevation Church meets at eight locations in the Charlotte area, as well as one location in Toronto, Canada. The church has been named one of the Fastest-Growing Churches in America by Outreach Magazine for each of the past six years.