For this week’s Monday Minute Kristin shares 4 steps toward being intellectually healthy and the importance of not just being smart, but being smart about God’s Word.
4 Steps towards being Intellectually Healthy
The Importance of Being Smart about God’s Word
by Kristin Goodrich
I hate feeling dumb and I hate looking dumb.
I especially hated the feeling of looking dumb during a military function when I stood at attention while several hundred uniformed people in the room remained seated. I couldn’t wait for those excruciatingly long minutes to be over so that I could sit down or escape!
As soon as I could, I looked up the military regulations and discovered that I had indeed broken military protocol. Thankfully, in this case, my lack of military knowledge only resulted in embarrassment and a desire to refresh my knowledge of military protocols.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”
Hosea 4:6a ESV
In the Bible, the Old Testament book of Hosea is full of God’s instructions. In order to become smart about God’s Word, I need to move beyond the temptation to just read a few meme-worthy verses. I need to become SMART about God’s Word. I need to become SMART about the Bible!
“Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him.”
Hosea 6:3a NIV
How to be Intellectually Healthy – in order to Flourish in God’s Word
- Read the whole text! Take time to read the entire book of Hosea which is less than ten pages long or to listen to an unabridged reading on audio. Regularly apply this principle by committing to a Bible reading plan. Since the book of Proverbs has 31 chapters, you could read the chapter corresponding with today’s date.
- Do some homework! You may need to learn some vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, and map locations in order to better understand what you are reading. In John 2:13, when Jesus spoke of “going up to Jerusalem,” he actually had to walk uphill to get to the city!
- Mix it up! Refresh your “list of favorites” regularly by including a new devotional book, time in less familiar biblical passages, or trying approaches such as journaling or writing out your prayers. Recently, I’ve added He Holds My Hand, a daily devotional book by Carol Kent, whose only child Jason, a Naval Academy graduate, is a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without possibility of parole.
- Be Critical! Cultivate excellence as you develop critical thinking skills. Take time to be intellectually disciplined as you ponder and reflect on the depth and breadth of God’s holy Word. Repeatedly, I have set aside false teachings because I took the time to measure great-sounding ideas and well-delivered suggestions against Scripture according to 2 Timothy 3:16.
Getting Smart About God’s Word
“My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.”
Hosea 11:8b ESV
As I exercise my intellectual muscles and increase my knowledge base, my mind is more devoted to Christ. As I continue to exercise, my heart muscles engage and I become a more loving servant and shepherd, working in the military community for God’s glory.
Over time and with increased experience and knowledge, we generally move up in rank within the military community, whether we wear a uniform or not. In the military, we become “old” when we enter our 40’s. Whereas, in a civilian church, we become “old” decades later. Even though my service was short, local high students have called me “an admiral or a general or something like that” because, to them, I’m old and have served.
And yet, age, experience, and knowledge do not necessarily equate wisdom. Our purpose in cultivating intellectual health is to develop godly wisdom that we can lovingly share with our military sisterhood and with the world around us.
Maybe, by paying attention to our intellectual health, we can avoid looking or feeling dumb!
Verses to Ponder
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding. (Proverbs 3:13 ESV)
Whoever is wise, let [her] understand these things; whoever is discerning let [her] know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them. (Hosea 14:9 ESV)
Lord Jesus, I want to be smart about your instructions and commandments! Help me take time to read full passages in the Bible and to do some homework in order to better understand. Let me test what I learn and believe against your never-changing word. And thank you for your grace when I look and sound dumb. Amen.
- Carol Kent, He Holds My Hand: Experiencing God’s Presence and Protection (Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2017)
- Word Nerd Wednesday blog
- Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading, Revised Edition (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972)
- Bible Boot Camp for Military Women (Philadelphia: American Bible Society, 2019) – a new 45-day devotional by Planting Roots, available for free through your installation chaplain at http://armedservicesministry.org/
Find other Planting Roots Resources on our website.