When I first began to really seek the Lord, I was challenged to dig into the Bible and learn and grow. And by God’s grace, I started to grow like a weed. His word was sweet to me and my eyes were opened to so many truths I had never considered before. My faith began to have a backbone, and I actually knew why I believed what I believed for the first time. And I made sure that everyone around me knew what I believed too. I was zealous and serious and incredibly certain of myself. Almost no one could tell me anything that I hadn’t heard before, and I often wouldn’t even listen to you if I perceived that we did not use the same lingo. Looking back, I was showing the sign of someone who had not read their Bible for very long.
What was that sign? Arrogance. One sure sign that someone hasn’t read their Bible for very long, is that they are arrogant. That might seem surprising, but it is almost universally true that someone who has spent a little time in God’s word always seems to have the answer for any situation. Here’s how this plays itself out: Someone begins to read and grow and learn for the first time in their life. They start growing in their knowledge of the Bible. They’ve read through the Bible a few times, they look around, and realize that they’re way ahead of “those other people” who never read their Bible. They’re further encouraged in their delusion of superiority by living in a society that really is Biblical illiterate. Mix that with a lot of sincerity and genuine zeal, and you are looking at someone who is marked by a certain Biblical arrogance that makes that person undesirable to be around.
This arrogance leads people to say really unkind things to those around them. For me, I can look back and remember saying things to my parents that make me cringe today. This arrogance also causes us to neglect good counsel from those around us. We are so consumed with our own understanding, that we neglect the counsel of our friends and family. We forget that those with understanding obtain guidance (Prov 1:5). It also leads to an unearned confidence in areas that we have no reason to be confident. When I was freshly seeking the Lord, I seemed to have all the answers for finances, marriage, and children, all while I was a broke single man. I had lots of verses in my arsenal, but I had only really been seeking God for a few years.
The reason that I know arrogance should decrease the more that we walk with the Lord is found in the requirements for the king of Israel. Before the printing press, he was to write out his own copy of God’s law, approved by the priests. “And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel” (Deut 17:19-20). By the daily reading of God’s law, the king would learn to fear God, keep His commandments, and be humble. This principle still applies for us! If we want to learn to fear God and not be lifted up above our brothers, we need to have a daily walk in God’s word. Someone who is arrogant clearly has not seen enough of God. Read the Bible a little and you will surely be arrogant. Read the Bible a lot and you will be humbled. You will see more of God and you will become small in your own eyes. You will see His law and realize you are not as good as you thought. See more of His salvation and you will be more grateful and humbled towards those around you.
So I want to exhort my brothers and sisters to read the Bible. A lot. Read it every day. Read it all the way through many many times, and let God humble you through His word. I love talking to an old saint, because they are always marked by humility. I’m confident, even for those zealous young Christians like me, that the more time we spend with God in His word, the more He will continue to transform us by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2). May God make us a humble people.
© Jacob Crouch 2023