Unconscious incompetence.

Tonight my professor said something that I am finding to be the perfect description of my learning process. He said that some people are unconsciously incompetent (they don’t know that they don’t know) and others are consciously incompetent (they know that they don’t know).

I’ve been both.

In only three weeks of classes, my mind is being expanded and my thought patterns are being challenged. I find myself living in this place of conscious incompetence. I am so aware of how little I know and how much there is to learn.

In some ways that is exciting because there’s a mountain to climb and growth to accomplish. In other ways, I’m overwhelmed by how unconsciously incompetent I have been, and it is radically humbling me. Please hear me, I don’t feel shame and I am not looking for affirmation. I am truly humbled and brought so low at my incompetency in Scripture and my ability to teach it.

I realize that I am in process and that life is a journey. That’s why there’s no shame.

But I can recognize how carelessly I have read and taught and handled Scripture in the past. I feel as though I am seeing the holiness of this sacred text for the first time in my life. And I’m beginning to respect and value the true study of God’s word…not to prove a point, or draw a conclusion, or make anyone agree with me. But to find God within the pages. However he reveals himself…not necessarily what I have always known.

It’s a beautiful gift that we’ve been given and for most of my life, I have not treasured it.

I encourage you from my own journey, don’t be so quick to think you know. Or that your very limited Greek knowledge knows. And never stop asking questions. Don’t always settle for the easy metaphors, the ‘Jesus’ answers, and what you’ve been told.

Sit in that uncomfortable place of conscious incompetence. You’ll wrestle, you might struggle, but there is peace. And as you search the Scriptures, you may be surprised.

Come and join me, I’ll save you a seat.


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