Does the Bible Tell Me So? || Janie Stuart

Posted on March 7th, by Janie Stuart in Heart. 1 Comment

Does the Bible Tell Me So? || Janie Stuart

In college, a common question asked is, “What is God’s will for my life?” And this question encompasses all parts of life beyond just the picking-a-major, career-oriented parts. There’s also the who-to-marry part, where-to-live part. All sorts of puzzles to solve with regard to God’s will, really.

As someone who works in college ministry, discovering God’s will–where to look for it and how to find it–is a conversation I have with students often. Inevitably, the discussion turns to Scripture, and whether or not we can find God’s future plan for us as individuals in 2013. Can the Bible tell me so with regard to whether or not I should pursue a Master’s degree?

The primary communication of God to us is God speaking, and the Bible is God speaking in written form. There’s lots of stuff in Scripture providing pretty specific instructions on how to live our lives, i.e. The Ten Commandments, The Sermon on the Mount, what to do when your oxen falls in a neighbors well. Yet, when it comes to the details of our day to day lives, there’s very little that we can directly apply. Maybe this is one of the reasons we don’t read Scripture very often, it seems out of touch, and even those who read it walk away with polar opposite viewpoints of what it actually says.

Where Scripture comes in to play for decision making is with the principles it provides, not so much the specifics. In his classic book, Hearing God, Dallas Willard explains what reading Scripture can offer.

The principles are all there… I happily insist that so far as principles are concerned, the Bible says all that needs to be said or can be said…Our reverence for and faith in the Bible must not be allowed to blind us to the need for personal divine instruction within the principles of the Bible yet beyond the details of what it explicitly says.

Unfortunately, if we want the Bible to tell us we should be a psych major, we’re going to be disappointed. What Scripture can actually tell us is how to be a psych major with integrity who approaches the world and other people with love and grace and mercy. Regarding much (maybe even most) of what is going to happen in our future, God’s will is that we are the ones who should make the decisions. Because if we are seeking God’s will by spending time reading Scripture, learning his principles for our lives and being transformed by a relationship with him, then the Bible is telling us all we need to know.


Janie Stuart Janie Stuart is Associate director of The Inn Seattle college ministry where she gets to pursue God, care for students, and pretend to know what she is talking about. Rain lover. Sports fan. Brevity enthusiast.
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One Response to “Does the Bible Tell Me So? || Janie Stuart”

  1. I love this, Janie. I’m sharing it with our Core Group leaders. Thank you. A quote from Al Wolters comes to mind, which may be helpful: “”Suppose John, a college senior, has to decide whether to go to seminary or to pursue graduate studies in philosophy.  Scripture does not decide that question for him.  Instead it gives him certain indispensable guidelines: he must seek the Lord’s will in all things, he must be a good steward of the gifts God gives I’m, he must do all to the glory of God, God has a plan for his life and has been guiding him since childhood, he must subordinate his own wishes and desires to God’s, and so on.  But these guidelines press him on to a consideration of what God’s will is in this situation, what gifts he has to be a steward of, what is most glorifying to God in this particular case, what God’s plan and guidance have been in his life to this point, what personal preferences must be downplayed, and so on.  In considering all these individual questions he must continually check back with Scripture to make sure his bearings are right, but he would be foolish and irresponsible if he let a stray text decide the matter for him without considering available graduate schools, his own talents and temperament, specific historical needs, and so on.”

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