The Pastor’s Idol

If preachers are not constantly studying things that challenge them spiritually and intellectually, then it is disingenuous for them to challenge the church to study the deep things of God and spend time with Him.

Oftentimes, pastors are studying books that are written for the masses or books that reconfirm rather than broaden and deepen his understanding. If we as pastors fully understand every book that we read, or read only what we like to read, or read only for immediate gratification or dissemination, then we are not learners; rather we are idolaters, and we are our own idol.

We should study the Scripture deeply because of the value of knowing God more deeply, which only happens in the context of knowing His self-revelation more deeply. He is worthy of such devotion, and we are needful of such revelation. In addition, here are two practical reasons for studying deeply that stand out as well.

First, since people are admittedly receiving and processing more information today than ever before, and much of it contrary to God’s truth, why would any pastor think we need shorter messages if his real heart is to train followers of Christ to think and live biblically? Just the sheer volume of information that has to be processed on a daily basis demands more teaching of Scripture, not less.

Second, today there are more cults, false teachers, influential secular ideas, philosophies, and critical issues requiring biblical understanding than at any time in American history. How can any serious pastor or thinker say we need shorter, shallower, and fewer messages?

James warned his listeners, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22). Today the question is, are they even getting an opportunity to hear the Word? Sure they are hearing clichés, verses quoted without due attention to authorial intent, or a string of disjointed verses strung together in order to give the lost a sense that God is there for him in whatever he is doing, but oftentimes they are not hearing the richness and depth of the Word of the Lord.