Pillar 5: Know The Author
We’re at the end of a five-part series to help you boost biblical literacy in the home. I know, the expression, “biblical literacy” may be about as clear as “molecular geometry.” But the basic truth is this:
Because of declining Bible understanding and engagement among young people, they’re walking away from the faith in droves. (Which is what this post is all about.)
Statistically, the belief we’re hoping to see our kids embrace is not sticking. And that’s where Pillar 5 comes in.
Following the Author
When a book store has an author come in for a signing event, fans are there to meet the author—to chat, take a selfie, and make a personal connection—if only for a moment.
True biblical literacy suggests a longing to get closer to the Author, not just to become an expert on the writing. The result of Biblical Literacy is knowing God, not just the biblical text. They’re inseparable. (In the beginning was the Word… and the Word was God.)
To recap the previous four pillars, “edge to edge” Biblical Literacy means:
- You know the big picture, narrative of the Bible—the overarching storyline (Pillar 1)
- You have a firm grasp of the beginning and the end, of Genesis and Revelation (Pillar 2)
- You’re on your way to understanding basic Bible doctrines (Pillar 3)
- You understand the difference between grace and works, and the two key judgments: of faith and rewards (Pillar 4)
But here’s the kicker. It’s possible to know your Bible, but not know God.
Jesus made this very point to the pharisees. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39-40 NIV)
Knowledge is crucial. But knowledge alone is lacking. At the end of the day, the whole point of knowing the scriptures is so that we can know God.
Some college professors teach subjects they’ve never practiced. They’re more into writing articles, opinions, and textbooks than they are walking out the subject outside the classroom.
A non-believer can study and recite the “correct” answers to the four pillars. And a professed believer who isn’t grounded in the truths of the four pillars can say they “know” God, but their walk suggests differently.
You can know the Bible with your head. But knowing God happens in the heart. And this knowing spurs action.
We’re often commanded in scripture to love God with our mind and heart and strength. Families seeking biblical literacy must know God. Ultimately, knowing God demands a response: action. Head knowledge should create a heart reaction and outward action.
When you know God, you’ll follow Him with your actions. We call this walking with God.
We believe. Therefore we…
The Anderson Family attends church because we believe. This is different than saying “because we are Christians, we should go to church.”
When we give our money and resources to churches and ministries, it’s an expression of our belief in the big picture. We don’t do it out of a sense of Christian duty. We do it because of a compelling belief in, and love for, the Author.
This difference in motivation is crucial, and applies to every part of our lives.
Without solid biblical literacy—which, again, presumes knowing The Author—Christian behavior becomes like sleep-walking, a set of motions and patterns that make little sense. In time, the journey grows stale, intellectual arguments against faith sound enticing, and spiritual disciplines feel silly.
That’s when young people walk away.
But in fact, they may never have walked with God.
Foundations with pillars
We must remind our children, and ourselves, that the reason we do what we do as Christians is because of our belief. And what do we believe?
The five pillars!
(Of course these pillars are not the end-all and be-all of faith. But they are a solid foundation to build on. I compiled the pillars from years of leading my own kids in their faith. And frankly, there’s a lot of talk about biblical literacy, but few attempts to frame what it looks like in real life.)
The pillars are all about Christ and God’s redemptive story. The problem is, most kids learn the story of Jesus on the cross (and only that story) and they never understand the bigger picture.
And for many, the faith walk stops making sense.
To know God, we need to know His story. The more we know of the story, the more we can know God, and see ourselves in His story.
Walking with the Author
There’s another reason biblical literacy helps Christians connect to God.
When young people truly understand the Bible, they understand how the Author views us. These Bible students believe, deep down inside their hearts, that God sees them. They believe God cares. They believe that somehow their commitment to live differently is noticed by God.
Just as the faith heroes in scripture, God-seekers today want to know that God notices them. They want to know that what they do really matters to God. (See my book, Divine Applause, for more on this subject.)
And when we’re sure that God notices us, we’re far less concerned about whether our behavior matters to a church or ministry—or to whoever might be paying attention. We live to know God, based on the biblical truth we know.
Literate Christians understand Matthew 6—that God notices when we give, when we pray, when we fast… and anything else we do in the name of Christ. God is watching. Not with spooky eyes, but with the eyes of a loving Father who is interested in you—interested in everyday situations and decisions.
It’s challenging in a world of social media to seek the attention of a Being who doesn’t “like,” text, “share,” or “follow” our behavior in the ways we’d like. That’s why biblical living requires faith.
Biblically literate Christians understand that we need knowledge to know God in a personal way. And as we walk with God, we’ll continue to grow in knowledge about Him. It’s a positive cycle of growth and connection.
Talk about the Bible and talk about the Author
Talking about the Bible as a family is hugely important, because it brings God into the everyday realities, hardships, celebrations, and choices of life.
Talking about the biblical narrative doesn’t have to grow old or feel legalistic. But at the end of the day, biblically literate minds need to spark heart reactions and action.
Biblically literate Christians don’t just know the Bible with their heads. They know God in their hearts. And their actions line up with both.
Unlike the pharisees of yesterday, and today, a big picture view of the Bible will ultimately root our understanding and stir a heart response, for all the right reasons.
Biblical literacy means that you’re equipped with head-knowledge that creates action from the heart.
Without the heart—and love for God—we’re raising future-pharisees.
But when our family knows both the Book and the Author, we’re raising believers who will inherit a crown.
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