For the seventh year in a row I was the emcee for the Bible Bee at our congregation’s school, Green Park Lutheran. The Bible Bee is always a little nerve-wracking for me because it means I make children cry when I tell them they’re wrong. “That is incorrect. Sit down. Next.” In front of the whole school, they are asked questions like, “How many books are in the New Testament?” (27). “Which biblical book has the longest chapter?” (Psalms, with chapter 119) “Where did God use Elijah to contest the prophets of Baal?” (Mt. Carmel, which probably served as inspiration for the game Candyland.)
I always preface the Bible Bee with a thought about what it means to “know” stuff in the Bible. It’s possible to know, but not really know something. In other words, you can know a lot about a person, but do you really know the person? Facts and information are vital. In any relationship, you need to know the details. Yet beyond knowing “the stuff,” there are also the intangibles of intimate knowledge. Do you know the essence, the character, and the core of the person?
The information contained in the Bible contains deeper meaning than quiz questions about the age of Methuselah (969 years old). Scripture gives us God’s track record, his history of dealing with people. We know who he is - really know - by what he does.
One of my reoccurring observations about Christians is that we often treat Jesus as a proposition and not a person. Forgive me if you’ve heard my soapbox before. It’s a danger to believe in Jesus as a thing, a collection of ideas, or a system of beliefs. But the Christian faith is about more than information. It’s personal. You may believe all the things about Jesus, but do you believe him? Do you trust him? Do you love him?
Aaron won the Bible Bee today. He was one of the shorter contestants. He strained to put his mouth in range of the microphone. He knew the answers. But I also know that he knows the person.