Knowledge of the Bible is indispensable in the lives of Christians (John 12:48). We know God chiefly through the Word of God. Scripture teaches his greatness, power, majesty, and grace (Deuteronomy 5:24; Psalm 89:8; Revelation 4:11; Ephesians 2:8,9). “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32, NKJV).
God’s will is learned through Scripture. We learn how he wishes for us to live, love, and laud him through the pages of the Bible.
In Psalm 119:9-11, the Psalmist asks, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought you; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I may not sin against You.”
We must, therefore, have a good knowledge of the Bible in order to live as God would have us live. We have unprecedented opportunities to learn the Bible. Bibles are plentiful in physical, electronic, and audio formats. The internet offers an endless amount of Biblical resources. Yet, knowledge of the Bible is less now than it has been since the Middle Ages.
This fact is increasingly true as we witness the writings and comments of people in the religious world. Apparently there is some mythology that is growing alongside the Bible that is becoming as well-known as Scripture./1 And as the Bible is read less and less, this mythology will only grow in prominence.
Before we examine some Biblical examples, let us mention one from the entertainment world in order to establish what we mean. If we polled a group of people as to the most famous line from the film, “Casablanca,” they would say, “Play it again, Sam.” Yet, this line is not even in the film.
Turning to the Bible, we find the following examples:
First, if we polled people as to the fruit Adam and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden, most all would say an apple. Yet, Genesis 3:3,6 says simply “fruit.” Nowhere do we read that this “fruit” was an apple despite most people being convinced of this “fact.”
Second, Mary Magdalene is almost universally believed to have been a prostitute. There are even Magdalene houses to help save prostitutes from their dangerous lifestyles. However, Scripture never says Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. This myth was perpetuated by Pope Gregory in the 6th century./2 The only mention of Mary, outside of the crucifixion and resurrection passages is in Luke 8:2 where it says seven demons were cast out of her. It is sad that she is slandered as a prostitute.
Third, every December we see nativity scenes, plays, and art depicting the three wise men visiting Jesus at the manger. In fact, the wise men were never at the manger and no number of wise men is ever specified in Scripture. The scene at the manger is recounted in Matthew 1:18-25. Later, in 2:7-11, the “wise men” (no number given) visit the “Child” in the “house” of his parents. Obviously, Jesus was no longer a newborn at the manger.
This matters because Biblical knowledge is eroding, and if false information can grow alongside of the Bible, the true knowledge will diminish in stature. People will know “about” the Bible instead of possessing truth.
Where will this false knowledge end? We already have people believing all kinds of things about the plan of salvation that are not in the Bible. It is sad that there are Bibles everywhere on desks, tables, and shelves and so few in the hearts of men.
1/ “Mythology” in the sense of, “a set of stories, traditions, or beliefs that have accrued around a particular person, event or institution” (Webster?s Random House Dictionary, 1991, p. 896).
Was Mary Magdelene Really a Prostitute?