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Enemy of Learning – Presuppositions and Pre-Conceived Notions

What if you believe. You believe strongly. You think your belief is Biblical, and you’re sincere, but you're wrong? I meet Christians like that every day. I'm even one of them.

Nicodemus was a Pharisee - one of the religious leaders at the time Jesus lived on the Earth. The Pharisees thought they knew God. Do you think they were sincere? I think Nicodemus was sincere, yet he was wrong. He could probably recite every commandment and law that the religious leaders practiced. Maybe he was even pretty good at keeping those rules. Then one night Nicodemus went for a private meeting with Jesus. Here are the first words he said to the Savior:

“Rabbi, we know...”

Jesus had an impressive response - you must be 'born again.' Everything you think you know must be replaced with this new birth, this new way of thinking. In other words, "Nicodemus, you don't know."

Nicodemus had all the rules down, but he didn't really know God. Paul, a Pharisee himself, had an interesting way of putting it: "... they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge."

Romans 10:2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

The very man who Nicodemus met that night was the very end of the Law - the end of the entire way that Nicodemus was thinking. That made an impression on me. Having come to a knowledge of my own presuppositions and pre-conceived notions, I realized that for decades I'd had that same problem - I knew a lot of Bible passages, and I could accurately repeat the sayings and teachings that had been drilled into me. I had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. I had a zeal based on all that I'd been told about the Bible and God. But I didn't have that knowledge myself... all I really knew was what I'd been told.

As I interacted with other Christians, I could see that I was not the only one. Christian jargon and common sayings were thrown around that sounded Biblical but weren't. I noticed that even the sermons and teachings that we were hearing were loaded with 'Christian-ese' that sounded zealous. I came across a verse that I'd seen many times before, but this time I was reading it with new eyes:

Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily [to find out] whether these things were so.

The people in this passage received the word, and then went further - they wanted to see if that teaching lined up with Scripture. That's the Grace Aware strategy - know what you believe and why you believe it.

When I started really reading the Bible for myself I began to notice that there were contexts, themes, and comparisons and contrasts that I'd been missing all because I thought I already knew... Just like Nicodemus. Our mission is to encourage people to read the Bible for themselves. So instead of telling you what to think, we teach you how to think.

Grace Aware is here to equip you to seek, to find, and to be transformed.

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