v 39. You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.
Many of us have grown up in a church environment that has valued Bible reading and a thoughtful study of it. The fact that you are reading these notes today suggests that you are probably in that category yourself. So why are you doing it? What is the value of reading and knowing the Bible? I doubt if you will be sitting an exam to assess what you might have learned! Nobody will visit you to check on what you are doing – it is a ‘No Questions Asked’ activity. It was in fact something at which the Jews of Jesus’ day excelled. They could doubtless have quoted all sorts of scriptures to support their actions and views on life. All very clever in fact. Moreover, they seemed to think that by knowing it all they would gain favour in God’s eyes and even eternal life!
But, says Jesus, they were missing the point of it all.
Bible study is not for knowing all the rules, or passing exams, or just plain knowing ‘stuff’; the purpose is to know God better and become more like Jesus in character. You may know all about Bible history, or Hebrew tradition, or even be able to quote great hunks of it when needed. Some folk are very good at that – and genuinely they are clever. But the big question remains – are they getting to know Jesus better, and their lives being transformed daily. If they remain unloving and argumentative, they are missing the point of their reading.
Are your readings helping you in the right direction? Ask yourself specific questions and even talk about it with a friend.