I am as guilty of this as anyone, and many of us “theological types” are the same: we read in order to learn, in order to know, and in order to master. Scripture, however, is God’s communication with humans, with God’s people, not just so they can know and master. It goes further. Notice how the psalmist in Psalm 119:33-40 goes beyond mastery.
Before I say another word, let me remind pastors today that studying Bible for sermons is not why God speaks to us in Scripture. Sure, we are called to preach. But, before we preach, we must adopt the posture of learning and grapple with the Source of learning, so we can experience the purpose of that learning.
That I may follow it to the end (33).
So that I may keep your law (34a).
So that I may obey it with all my heart (34b).
There I find delight (35).
… and not toward selfish gain (36).
Preserve my life (37).
So that you may be feared (38).
There you have it: we listen and we learn in order that we may live aright. To know about God is not the same as knowing God (JI Packer said this long ago). To love the Bible is not always the same as loving God. To know Scripture is not always to be known by the God of Scripture. To comprehend theology is not the same as being comprehended by theology.