"Bible thumper" is a term that derived from preachers thumping the Bible as they made a point while preaching. The catch phrase wasn't one of endearment but ridicule of those attempting to impose their beliefs on others. The slur was not solely directed at preachers. Anyone displaying their religion, whether of a fundamentalist nature or not, could be so labelled.
While growing up, I'm sure that some of my acquaintances considered me a Bible thumper. After all, I was a preacher's kid and was often labelled the same thing as my father, and he was quite the fundamentalist. I knew the Bible backward and forward. My parents and teachers at church ingrained the facts and stories into my young brain. I learned the songs, memorized the verses, and discovered the books through Bible drills. But these truths by themselves didn't set me free.
The religious leaders were first century Bible thumpers. Jesus warned them:
John 5:39-40 – You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. (NLT)
Religion can be detrimental if it doesn't lead to a relationship. With most of these early Bible thumpers Jesus encountered, it didn't. They knew the Scriptures backward and forward, but they didn't know the One they witnessed of. Knowledge of the truth and experiencing the truth aren't identical. What I know must be followed by action — and in this case, the action of belief.
God never instructs me to worship the Bible but rather the One it points to. And redemption through Jesus Christ and Him alone is the scarlet thread woven throughout the entirety of His Word. It is possible to be religious and lost. Just as knowing the ingredients that produce a cake doesn't actually make the cake unless I combine and bake them, so merely knowing the Bible can make me a Bible thumper and not a full-fledged follower of Jesus Christ.
Have you turned your life over to the One the Bible points toward?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that You are God's Son sent to pay for my sins. I accept Your resurrection power into my life. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "I Know Whom I Have Believed" (Lyrics)