You know, the Gospel of Luke is probably my favorite of the Apostolic Writings. I was reading chapter 8 the other day, and this stood out to me:
Parable of the Sower
4 When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable:
5 “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up.
6 “Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
7 “Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out.
8 “Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
9 His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant.
10 And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.
11 “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.
12 “Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.
13 “Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
15 “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
I bolded the verse that stood out to me.
I remember reading once on a Jewish counter-missionary site that the best way to argue against Christianity is to make sure you know scripture, as Christianity is a religion based on emotion and has little to do with what the Bible says, the Hebrew Scriptures (aka the “Old Testament”) in particular.
Now, this statement initially bugged me, until I realized it was very true. Far too many believers have no time to study scripture, but absolutely love going to Church to jump up and down, sing and yell about the “love of Jesus,” and make feeble attempts at witnessing. Sure, Jesus loves me and died for my sins, but do you know anything about your faith beyond that? If I ask you to prove Jesus is Messiah using only the Old Testament and excluding the “Suffering Servant” passages of Isaiah 52 & 53, can you do it?
The Rabbis claim that study of scripture is the highest form of worship, because study leads to practice. So, I challenge all of you to study until you can not only answer my two questions above without having to dig out your Bible and scramble through it, but study to the point where the questions themselves seem almost too simple. It’s time to get out of the rocky soil and find the good stuff.