DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Water Down Intellect

Written by: on January 31, 2015

Noll in his book, Jesus Christ And The Life Of The Mind, states that, “For Christian believers who pursue an academic vocation, Paul’s letter to the Colossians should be a central text, especially for how it expands upon the Christ-centered creation of the world.” [1] From this Scripture, we can model Paul’s example as one who continuously seeks knowledge. Throughout the Bible, we find that we are called to be continuous learners about God and His will for our lives. The Bible is not just a handbook for life; rather it is God’s way of revealing Himself to mankind.

Early in his life, Jesus modeled the importance of learning about God through the Scriptures. He used the Old Testament Scriptures as he taught. The apostles also illustrated this. In fact, Paul was educated in Jerusalem. His education included Greek culture, Hebrew Scriptures and traditions. He attended the rabbinical school of Gamaliel.

Noll focuses on Christology as the foundation to gaining Biblical knowledge. “Christology (from Greek Χριστός Khristós and -λογία, -logia) is the field of study within Christian theology, which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus as recorded in the canonical Gospels and the epistles of the New Testament.”[2]  The first time that Jesus was shown as a learner in the Bible was as a young teenager, as He sat in the temple listening and talking to the Priests. Luke 2:46-47 (NIV) says, “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.”

In 2 Timothy 2:15, we find that we are to “study and show thyself approved”. Early church fathers were able to learn more about Jesus by studying and analyzing Scripture. Early church documents, such as the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed helped to define Christ’s deity and human nature. “The creeds concentrate with fearsome energy on the themes that define the heart of Christianity. They remain important for Christian scholarship because they have stood the test of time as faithful summaries of biblical revelation concerning the person and work of Christ.”[3]

Today, many American churches have watered down the biblical intellect of the people. Pastors no longer teach on nor use theological terms in their sermons. I do not remember the last time that I’ve heard intellectual rigor from the pulpit. The sad truth of our time is that the church and it’s leaders no longer see the need for the common lay people to have meaningful biblical training. We have bought into the world’s lie that we must always write or speak to a fifth grade level at all times. The truth is that most individuals will strive to wherever you set the bar. If we raise our expectations, then people will rise to meet the challenge. In doing so, they will experience the transformation that comes from a deeper understanding of Scripture.


[1] Mark A. Noll: Jesus Christ And The Life of the Mind (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2011), Kindle. Loc. 345


[3] Ibid Loc. 70

About the Author

Richard Volzke