Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Know Whom I Have Believed"1 (Lyrics)
"Bible thumper" is a term that derived from preachers thumping the Bible as they made a point while preaching. The catch phrase wasn't one of endearment but ridicule of those attempting to impose their beliefs on others. The slur was not solely directed at preachers. Anyone displaying their religion, whether of a fundamentalist nature or not, could be so labelled.
While growing up, I'm sure that some of my acquaintances considered me a Bible thumper. After all, I was a preacher's kid and was often labelled the same thing as my father, and he was quite the fundamentalist. I knew the Bible backward and forward. My parents and teachers at church ingrained the facts and stories into my young brain. I learned the songs, memorized the verses, and discovered the books through Bible drills. But these truths by themselves didn't set me free.
The religious leaders were first century Bible thumpers. Jesus warned them:
John 5:39-40 – 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. (NLT)
Religion can be detrimental if it doesn't lead to a relationship. With most of these early Bible thumpers Jesus encountered, it didn't. They knew the Scriptures backward and forward, but they didn't know the One they witnessed of. Knowledge of the truth and experiencing the truth aren't identical. What I know must be followed by action — and in this case, the action of belief.
God never instructs me to worship the Bible but rather the One it points to. And redemption through Jesus Christ and Him alone is the scarlet thread woven throughout the entirety of His Word. It is possible to be religious and lost. Just as knowing the ingredients that produce a cake doesn't actually make the cake unless I combine and bake them, so merely knowing the Bible can make me a Bible thumper and not a full-fledged follower of Jesus Christ.
Have you turned your life over to the One the Bible points toward?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that You are God's Son sent to pay for my sins. I accept Your resurrection power into my life. Amen.
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Well written Martin. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.
Great devotional! I’d like to read it out at our Men’s Coffee Hour at our church. Keep writing, keep “thumping”.
Thank you for your clear presentation of a very important message — the need for a relationship with Jesus Christ. Praise Him!
Yes, I believe in the name of the One revealed throughout the Bible. Righteousness, Peace and Joy are my cake as I live in His Kingdom!
Thank you for writing to us.
Good Morning Martin.
“While growing up” “But these truths by themselves didn’t set me free.”
I have one question that your statement seems to allude to. In all the years of preaching by your father, and you going through the Bible so often, did your parents not tell you, or the persons listening about the way of salvation, the meaning of John 3:16,17? Now, help me if I missed something about all those kin folks! Did none of them know the Redeemer of the soul?
Your contribution to today’s Devotion is well ‘put’, Martin. I often disappointedly find those who are well versed in Scripture and devoted to their Church and its many congregations lack the understanding of a faith in action … and me also in so many ways.
I’ve wondered if God shakes His head at times while saying to Himself, “They have had 2,000 of their years, when will their comprehension be complete?”
Thank you Martin.
Thank you Martin for this devotion. It has come to me at a very relevant time in my life, as do most if I think of it. I trust that the Lord is leading me by sending me the answers to my questions.
However, I volunteer for the local pregnancy centre. The Director, staff and volunteers alike are getting discouraged with the reputation we have in the community as Bible Thumpers and “Those Christians” we are jokingly changing our label to “Followers”. We are Followers of Christ! I will forward this devotional to my colleagues at the pregnancy centre.
Thank you so much.
Martin, this is so outstanding that I wouldn’t mind framing it so I could remind myself daily that I have accepted His resurrection power into my life; that one can be religious but lost; that knowing the ingredients doesn’t make the cake!; and that, above all, RELIGION CAN BE DETRIMENTAL IF IT DOESN’T LEAD TO RELATIONSHIP.
These are principles that I have known and understood for many years, but the way you put them brings them into clear focus, animates them! Blessings on you for leading us onward into deeper understanding and commitment, but more than anything, into loving The Lord more thoroughly, and with greater understanding, more heart and less emotion. Emotions too can be detrimental if they aren’t grounded in knowledge and understanding.
While I appreciate your point, I think the opposite is true today. So many Christians rarely read their Bibles at all except during the sermon on Sunday at church. Emotional appeals to personal relationships with Jesus have turned people away from reading and studying the Bible. They would rather have personal prophecies and visions.
Mark Noll’s book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind is an eye-opener showing the “great divorce between intellect and piety” and the “intellectual atrophy” that is happening in Christian circles and churches. A huge loss to the church is the absence of Catechism classes where Biblical theology was explained to lay persons, starting with the youth.
So, although I do understand your point about “Bible thumping,” I think we need to be careful not to turn people away from the Bible itself. The Bible is our source of truth, the ultimate authority for Christians. I have had people say to me, “The Bible is not the truth, Jesus is.” Yes, but we don’t learn about the truth without reading and studying the Bible.
Amen to your prayer! The key to religion vs. a personal relationship with God is to know the power of Christ’s resurrection (Philippians 3:10).
Thank you Martin for another wonderful message rooted in God’s truth.
Good one Martin.
I might have thumped the Bible once or twice to get my point across; sometimes you just can’t help it. You’re right, it’s not just academics. Some fundamentalists need that relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to guide them in their teaching and preaching.
May God continue to bless you.