The Kryptonite of Spiritual Growth

William Tyndale was strangled to death and burned at the stake in 1536 for putting it into English.

Martin Luther was whisked away by hooded horsemen, thought dead by many in his own town, and hidden secretly in a castle to translate it into German.

Thousands upon thousands ignored and disobeyed orders to hand them over to be burned, risking arrest or worse.

Yet you and I know don’t even know ours very well.

I speak of Bibles, of course. Only 500 years ago Christians generally had to “hear the Word of God” only on Sunday mornings through the words of a priest or preacher. For many, that few minutes a week was literally like honey from the comb. So when those precious words of God were made available – in the same language they spoke with their friends and children in – they were willing to risk injury, arrest, and persecution for it.

If only we read ours today in that manner. If only, when we sat down with our leather bible in the trim, color, translation, and size of our choice, we cherished it. Heck, I’m a snob when it comes to single-column versus double-column. Ever gone to and viewed the number of different Bibles to choose from? Try it sometime.

I say all of this because I’ve been preparing for ordination exams for our denomination. I am tested on many things, two of which are English Bible content and church history. So I read and studied the lives of brave men and women who stood up for the Bible, who translated it into vernacular languages, and clung to it in spite of persecution. And alongside those studies I was reminded of how much more of the Bible I need to know. How many stories I was unfamiliar with. The many holes in my biblical storyline and theology.

Here are 7 brief questions to test your biblical knowledge. Have fun. (Answers at the very end)

1. How many books are in the Bible? In the Old Testament? New Testament?

2. Where would you find the 10 Commandments? For that matter, what are the 10 different commandments?

3. Who was Joseph? (something in addition to his fashion sense, please) Where in the Bible would you find his story?

4. In 3 sentences, could you describe what happened between the time King David took the throne and Jesus was born?

5. Who wrote the book of Titus?

6. The book of Luke is really the first of a two-part series in our Bible, what is the second part?

7. Who were the 12 disciples? Name them.

I could get a lot harder if I wanted, but figured I’d take it easy. I’m sure all of us know we lack in our wisdom, knowledge, and understanding when it comes to the Bible. I’m also sure we all have a desire to grow spiritually.

But the kryptonite of spiritual growth is often our weakness related to the Bible. Our understanding of it, our discipline to study it, our desire to study it.

Here are a few helpful things if you lack the desire, discipline, motivation, or tools necessary to grow in your biblical understanding.

1. The ESV Study Bible is golden. We have them at the bookstore for as cheap as you’ll find. Great study notes for most verses, great introductions to each book, and a wealth of articles on subjects ranging from the formation of the Canon, to biblical ethics, to world religions, to the Bible and archaeology. The number one resource for helping you understand your Bible that I can think of. Also gives you a free online Bible that is really usable.

2. The Crossing Bible Reading Plan. It’s not read-the-bible-in-a-year. So if you’ve been overwhelmed by that previously, this one is shorter and less time consuming.

3. If you want a little something extra, another recommended source is a book entitled How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. The first two are home runs, this one is a double.


1. 66. 39 and 27.
2. Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5. You can look there for the second answer.
3. Son of Jacob. Sold into slavery by his brothers, suffered for many years in spite of doing good in Egypt. Saved many lives because of his wisdom and faithfulness, the lives of his family as well as the Egyptians. Is a beaming example of faith and right living. Genesis 37-50.
4. The kingdom is united for a period of time until David’s grandson when it is divided into two halves (1 Kings 12). Then they both continue to get more and more wicked in many respects, so God disciplines both by exiling them to foreign nations (2 Kings 17 and 25). Then they come back and wait 500 or so years before Jesus is born (Ezra and Nehemiah).
5. Some guy named Paul.
6. Acts. It literally took Seminary for me to hear this. What about you?
7. Simon Peter, Simon the Zealot, James, James son of Alphaeus, Phillip, Matthew, Bartholomew, John, Andrew, Thaddaeus, Thomas, Judas Iscariot (replaced by Matthias in Acts).

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