I love maps I can spend hours poring over the details of a terrain that I have never seen and probably never will see. So when I travel somewhere, I am not content with a generalized map of the area; nothing less than a Delorme atlas with every gravel road marked will do.
How nice it would be to have such a detailed map of our spiritual pilgrimage—to have every decision clearly marked and the road for years ahead clear and straight. Some Christians try to get that kind of information out of their Bibles. They search for verses that will tell them what job to take, whom to marry, what school to attend. Of course, they are doomed to be disappointed—or worse yet, to think God is giving them specific direction in a verse that means nothing of the kind. Other Christians simply give up: since God has not told me anywhere what job I should take or what school to go to, it does not matter what I decide.
Both these responses miss the true nature of God’s guidance of us through Scripture. God has not given us a Delorme spiritual map revealing every twist and turn of our lives What He has given us instead is a revelation of Himself. Who He is, what He has done, is doing, and will do, and what He values most in His people.
By reading, studying, and meditating on this revelation, we find our very worldview being changed. Paul describes this process in his famous call for Christians to “renew their minds” (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23). It is by this transformation of our fundamental attitudes and values that we will be able to “test and approve what God’s will is” (Rom. 12:2). God desires that we so immerse ourselves in Scripture that its values gradually become our values. These values, built deeply into us, will then guide us in all the decisions of life.
As my wife and I raised five children (now all grown), we were especially anxious to help them develop these renewed minds. We were not so concerned about whether they would agree with us on every lifestyle decision that we made. But we wanted them to make their own lifestyle decisions, not on the basis of the materialistic cultural values of this world, but on the basis of solidly biblical values.
I have a similar vision for the students I teach at Wheaton College. My goal is to expose them to Scripture in such a way that the very roots of their minds will be thoroughly Christian. For if, by God’s Spirit, their minds are being so transformed, I can be confident that they will emerge as strong examples of righteousness in a world that desperately needs such a witness.
Dr. Douglas J. Moo is Blanchard Professor of New Testament and Director of the Ph.D. Program in Biblical and Theological Studies. A relative newcomer to Wheaton, Doug arrived in 2000 after a long ministry at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He holds a B.A. from DePauw, an M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from St. Andrews in Scotland He and his wife Jenny live in West Chicago. Three of their children have attended, or are attending Wheaton College. (Wheaton Magazine, Winter 2004).