I am amazed at the speed at which information is becoming available. It has been a mere twelve years since I was a student at Cornell University and I logged on to the Internet for the very first time. My daily destination was www.reuters.com, since I knew of no other place where I could read the headlines. Little did I realize that this new medium would transform my ability to study and research.
The world I now inhabit is one in which I can read about my beloved (though now defeated) Detroit Tigers, to keep tabs on my old bunkmate from our days with Neighborhood Bible Time, and even to find out what the traffic is like in Lexington, Kentucky. More significantly, I have at my fingertips a seemingly endless collection of resources to help me unlock the truth of God’s Word. Twenty-six years of sermons from John Piper. Ten years of Ligon Duncan‘s pulpit ministry. A digital library of hundreds of Christian classics that have passed into public domain. Totally free lectures from Covenant Seminary. And the list goes on and on.
In such a world as this, the temptation that confronts us when studying the Bible is to turn off our brains and surf the web seeking someone else’s answers first. Not that reading other people’s thoughts is inherently bad. They are certainly gifts to the church whose words are graciously used by God to instruct us in his ways and works. But there is a certain laziness that we demonstrate when we rush off to our favorite preachers and authors to give us quick answers when we’re faced with pressing questions about the biblical text. And merely spending hours surfing the Internet does not rebut the charge of laziness. How many hours have I wasted chasing rabbits on the world wide web?
Good thinking takes hard work. And time. The reason that certain men have keen insight into God’s Word is that they have spent much time pondering it, meditating on it, rolling it around in their minds until they have probed the biblical text from every conceivable angle. We should strive to mimic their thinking, not merely the product of their thinking. And as people indwelt by the Spirit of God, we should turn in dependence to the Author of the Word before relying on frail, fallen human writers.
This is not a call to theological independence. Not every thought about the Word is accurate. And God has not called us to be exegetical solipsists. Recognizing my own frailty and fallenness compels me to check my thinking against men with more years, maturity, and insight than I may ever have. But not before I have taken the time to pray and think and work and ask and consider and pray and analyze and reconsider and wrestle. Praise God for the resources we have at our fingertips. May we never neglect, however, the Resource that indwells us.