In True Spirituality, Francis Schaeffer writes:
“Intellectual pursuits can be to the glory of God. But today much intellectual pursuit is not a pursuit of truth, or a search for truth, but a game—and the best game one can play…Theology today is often a superior game, just like the game of general intellectual thinking….If I had to choose a game to fill up the absolute vacuum of being a non-Christian and having no absolute meaning in my life, in my experience I could find no game across the whole philosophical spectrum as exciting as playing the theological game. And almost all modern liberal theology is just a game; it is pure gamesmanship.”
When we come to the Bible, we can’t play it like an intellectual game—nor can we play it like a competitive game of spirituality. Paul said if we have all knowledge and all faith, but we don’t have love, then we’re nothing. We need God to instruct us, and we need a heart on which God can write.
“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk
of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”
1 Peter 2:1-3
Both of these quotes begin with the word, Therefore. Go back for a minute and look at the verses that precede James 1: 21, and then look at those verses that precede 1 Peter 2:1-3. Find the reasons that James and Peter give to compel us to take action.
James and Peter then tell us to put aside some things, and they give a blunt list of sins. The thing is, we can’t go on to the next action without putting these things aside first, because they are the antithesis of what James and Peter next tell us to do.
Now that they’ve laid the groundwork with Therefore to give us motivation, and putting aside to get us ready, James and Peter each proceed to tell us the response we should have to God’s Word.
James writes, “…in humility receive the word implanted…”
Peter writes, “…long for the pure milk of the word…”
Be humble. Be hungry. Why? What will be the result? God’s Word will nurture us, and we will grow.
Don’t play games, instead…
“…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”
1 Timothy 6:11b
Johannes Vermeer, The Milkmaid: Public Domain.
Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality, 1971, p. 144.
Note: In James 1:21, the word humble is a translation of a Greek word that is sometimes translated as gentle or as meekness. In the King James Version I believe it was translated more consistently as meek, unfortunately, as A. T. Robertson writes, meek is “this great word that has worn thin with us.” In his work on Matthew he states:
“The English word “meek” has largely lost the fine blend of spiritual poise and strength meant
by the Master. He calls Himself meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29) and Moses is also called
meek. It is the gentleness of strength, not mere effeminacy.”
A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 1931, Vol. IV, p. 251, Vol. I, p. 41.
W. E. Vine defines the Greek word:
“…it consists not in a person’s outward behavior only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow-men;
as little in his mere natural disposition. Rather it is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the
exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept
His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.”
W. E. Vine, Old Testament edited by F. F. Bruce, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old
and New Testament Words, 1981, Vol. 3, p. 55.