For all your life you have studied the Scriptures. You can recall in an instant for someone who asks where something is located if there is a need to know. You have not only read the Scriptures faithfully, the entirety of the Bible at least once annually, but you have done much detailed exegetical work on many passages of Scripture. If anyone thinks of you, they think of a “walking Bible.” In some strange way, there is something in that descriptive term that is ego-building though, perhaps, in your modesty you deflect such sentiments. Jesus faced this when He faced those religious leaders in the community who were considered “walking Bibles.” Yet, Jesus took note of how little they truly knew. “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?” (Matt. 22.29) He indicted those professional religious leaders with being unlearned, at least in part!
“You do not know the Scriptures” is a mighty powerful indictment against people who would be considered “walking Bibles.” Notice, also, Jesus said they did not know the power of God. I learned a good-while back and was reminded of this by David Pharr while in preaching school, the words of Paul:
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
To have someone call you a “walking Bible” might make you feel very good, but one needs also to remember, when speaking of people, a walking Bible has many empty pages. Even the smartest of those called “walking Bibles” will tell you how inadequate and empty they are or feel on not a few, but many occasions. Try as one might to understand and apply, there are many times when weakness or neglect soon follows. It is very important to have knowledge of God’s way, but that knowledge will do nothing on judgment day to help if the knowledge attained is not put into application.
There are some who have the academic knowledge of God, but these same ones do what they can to restrict God’s work only to that which He said in the pages of the New Testament. I refuse to do that. With confidence, I can say what I understand the New Testament to teach, even defend it against those who speak in a contrary way. To restrict the Lord, however, only to that which He said about Himself is to restrict Him too much. This I will not do. Why? Paul said it well. RT