I had my annual eye exam today, and I had the same thought I have every year. What would happen if I could memorize the eye chart ahead of time? I could "read" even the smallest line and it would not matter whether the chart was far or near. Left eye or right, it would not even matter. No more prescriptions for glasses. No more worry about breaking them, or losing them. All I would have to do would be to memorize the chart.

I could recite the proper letters in the proper order. My Optometrist would pronounce my vision to be 20/20. Learn the chart, recite it correctly, and my worries are over. Except for one problem: I still would not be able to see as clearly as I should. Memorizing the chart is not the same as being able to see the chart. An eye chart is not about knowledge, or correct answers. It is about being able to see.

Some people think about the Bible like I think about an eye chart, but the Bible is not simply a set of facts to memorize. It is the story of God's relationship with man. It is told with God's own words. It is a blueprint for living. The Bible itself says that it is a "lamp to my feet and a light for my path." God speaks to us so we can see him, know him, and live with him.

So the problem with using the Bible as a series of facts to be learned misses the point. You still will not see. It is one thing to know Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It is quite another to see that God sent a Son from heaven to live among us, to let us know him, and to provide a way to live in his house forever.

The purpose of the eye chart is not just to get the answers right; it is to help me be able to see. The purpose of the Bible is not to just get the answers right; it is to help me see God.

Knowing the right answers does not always make for a right life.
If you want to talk about this, write me at steve@hopeforlife.org or check out our blog at www.hopeforlife.org.

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