This is part four of a ten part series counting down. The series begins Here.
6. Become an “expert” by memorizing words, verse references, exact translations and avoiding any paraphrase or truth which does not come directly and soley through scripture.
The nice thing about scripture is that you can manage an appearance of Great Godliness without danger of any real Godliness by mere memorization. While meditation is by far the more important aspect for real change, memorization will serve well for the appearance of real change. It’s of course possible that a lot of memorization might accidentally lead to meditation but you can avoid this by focussing intensely on minutiae and taking great pride in your detailed accuracy. Be sure to scoff at any ideas which don’t match your systematic theology, or come from the “wrong” translation. If someone paraphrases scripture, even if appropriately and accurately feel free to ignore it on the basis of it not being the literal word of God. This “hyper-scriptural” approach also gives you wiggle room to ignore wisdom if chapter and verse can’t be cited for you and to ignore any teachings which are not expository in nature. The key in all this is to never actually think about the point behind the scripture you’ve become an expert on. Dwell on anything else—the context, the history, the phrasing, the memorization, anything—just as long as you avoid the actual meaning of the words. Become an expert on the text, not on the substance. A great corollary to this is to be sure to use scripture as a weapon in all arguments. Your expertise will quickly intimidate most people who are admittedly less full of references then you are. When you feel tempted to learn, just focus instead on correcting everyone else’s minor misquotes and out of context statements and you will find this unusual compulsion will fade. On the other hand, if you, even for a second, cease to use scripture in this way and instead begin to examine scripture, not as a book to be used, but a window to something greater, you are then probably lost, doomed to be changed by the power of God’s revelation.