life is the textbook
(J. R. Miller, "Uniting with the Church" 1912)
Bible knowledge alone, does not make one a godly Christian. One might know all the great facts and doctrines of the Word of God, might be a profound Bible scholar and a wise theologian—and yet not be an advanced, or even a growing Christian! We are to learn to 'live Christ'—as well as to know the truths about Christ.
Jesus in His teachings, makes a great deal of obedience. "You are My friends—if you do what I command you." John 15:14. We are to learn to be patient, meek, gentle, compassionate. We are to learn to be humble, kind, unselfish, truthful, sincere. We enter Christ's school to be trained in all the qualities which make up the true Christian life. Jesus is not only the teacher—His life is the textbook which we are to study!
We are to look to His life—to learn just how to live, the kind of character we are to seek to have, and the meaning of the lessons which His words set for us. We are in the school of Christ to be trained in all Christian life and duty. The lessons which the Bible sets for us—we are to live out in common life.
For example, it is not enough to learn from the Beatitudes, that certain qualities are praised by the great Teacher; we are to get the Beatitudes into our own life as quickly and as perfectly as we can. Just so of all the teachings of Christ—they are not for merely knowing—as one learns the fine sayings of favorite literary writers; they are for living! They are to become lamps to our feet and lights to our path, and to be wrought into the web of our character.
We are not to expect perfection in the school of Christ—but we have a right to expect an increasing knowledge of spiritual things, and also spiritual growth in all the qualities which belong to Christian character. We should become more patient, more loving, more unselfish—more like Christ!