Mark Maddix writes about what should be, not necessarily what is. In so doing his exhortation brings a couple of things to mind.
First, I am coming to believe with more certainty that our denominational backgrounds, culture, and personal desires play a much more profound role in our interpreting of Scripture than we would ever like to think. I think most people come to a text, not with an open mind to receive the original intent of the author, but with an assumption of meaning or interpretation based on what they’ve already concluded. We tend to use Scripture to prove our already firmly established conclusions.
Secondly, too often we are more concerned about conquering the meaning of the text than we are in being conquered by the meaning of the text and surrendering to its’ will and direction. I have loved all the training that I have received throughout the years, but I have noticed an inadvertent emphasis on understanding the text of Scripture that often takes precedence over being transformed by the text of Scripture.
Knowledge is wonderful. Paul writes to the Philippians, “it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment” (Phil 1:9 ESV). Paul wants all believers to grow in their understanding and knowledge. He tells the Colossian believers, “we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col 1:9 ESV). But in the letter to the Corinthians, he warned them about the potential danger of knowledge, “This knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Cor 8:1 ESV).
Scripture is not information to be mastered but “we are to allow the text to master us instead.”