We all know one. You know, that person who has studied the Bible endlessly, but instead of applying its truth to his or her own life, he or she chooses to use Scripture as a dagger toward others. Biblical knowledge is good, but we must live out what it says, not use it to wound others.
Of course, we all can stand to know more about God’s Word. Even old saints who have served God for years read the Bible and learn something new. We could read the Bible daily for a thousand years and still uncover nuggets we had never previously noticed. God speaks to us through His Word. One day, He may reveal something to us in a Bible passage and then later use the same passage to show us something different.
Knowing what God’s Word says is essential to living a victorious Christian life. I remember hearing a story about one of the first ladies to receive electricity in her home. She had power that the people of her day would have coveted. When asked how she liked having electrical lights in her home, she said she only turned them on for a few minutes each night so she could light her candles. She had the power, but she did not tap into it. She chose to continue in the lifestyle she knew.
God’s Word is full of life-changing truth. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 reads, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (ESV). His Word is powerful. We need to know what it says so we can be prepared to go into spiritual battle. Colossians says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (ESV).
Biblical knowledge is a necessary step towards spiritual maturity; yet, we should strive for both. You can have Biblical knowledge without being a mature believer, but you cannot be a mature believer without Biblical knowledge.
Recently, Eric and I met a man who loved to talk about the Bible. Upon first meeting him, I thought, “Wow, this guy really knows what the Bible says.” He quoted Scripture effortlessly and had a verse or two to back up almost every comment he made. However, even though he talked the talk of a believer, something about him did not set well with me. I felt discouraged by his use of Scripture. God’s word does convict, but it does not discourage. It did not take us long to realize that he was using Scripture to pridefully puff himself up instead of to glorify God and make disciples (Mark 16:14-20).
This fellow had plenty of Bible smarts, but it did not appear that he was hiding God’s word in his heart (Psalm 119:11). Unless we are hearers and doers of God’s word, we will not mature spiritually. We can memorize all the verses in the Bible, but if we don’t do what they say, we will not grow to be more Christ-like… which is the desire of all true believers.
Misusing Scripture in Your Future Marriage
Bible knowledge – spiritual maturity = potential marital abuse. If you go into marriage with the ability to quote Scripture at any possible situation which may arise, but you lack the maturity and understanding to use what it is saying within context, you can easily manipulate, discourage, and exhaust your bride or groom. Though God’s Word does convict, it does not depress, discourage, or condemn. If you are using God’s Word to push your partner down, or for any other reason than to bring him or her closer to God, it will spell trouble for your relationship.
If your spouse is a believer, using Scripture against him or her will cause a wedge in your relational intimacy. It is a form of manipulation and people can only stand so much before they blow or completely disconnect from the manipulator.
If your spouse is not a believer, using Scripture against him or her is a way of lying about God. Romans 2:4 tells us that God’s kindness leads us to repentance. What kind of mental picture are we painting of God when we use His words to inflict pain on others for the sake of our pride or getting our own way?
Spiritual maturity does not happen overnight, but if you are following Christ and striving to be more like Him, you should notice spiritual growth in yourself from year to year. You will not be spiritually perfect when you get married, but you and your future mate should not get married until you are mature enough to use God’s Word properly and not as a sword against each other.
When your future spouse sins, you should bring it to his or her attention with kindness, gentleness, and Scripture – your purpose being one of restoration to a right relationship with God… not to show off your “superior” walk with the Lord. Always remember, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, ESV).
Have you or your sweetheart ever used scripture as a way to hurt each other? If so, what results have followed?