Ahab was an evil king. He married Jezebel, a devilish and idolatrous woman, and built a temple for Baal, the most famous idol of the time (1 Kings 16:30-32). Although Ahab was born in a nation of God, he was more than independent of God. He did not have one thought toward God. He was utterly independent of Him.
XV. THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND THE SCRIBES
Now we come to the New Testament. The chief priests and the scribes knew the Bible. When King Herod inquired where Christ was to be born, they gave him the answer immediately (Matt. 2:4-6). Although there is nothing inherently wrong with Bible knowledge, it is dangerous merely to hold the knowledge as did the chief priests and scribes. Although they knew that Christ was to be born at Bethlehem, none of them went to see for themselves. This proves that they were on the line of knowledge, not on the line of life. The wise men from the east, who had no knowledge of the Bible, were on the line of life. Following the heavenly star, they came to the place where Christ was and worshipped Him. Undoubtedly, the wise men from a heathen land had life, while the chief priests and the scribes had death. Although the chief priests and scribes had the knowledge of the Bible, the result of their knowledge was death. Knowledge cannot give life.
Nicodemus was a good man. However, when he first came to the Lord he was on the line of knowledge (John 3:1-2). He said to the Lord Jesus, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God." In His reply the Lord turned Nicodemus from teaching and knowledge to the line of life (John 3:3). The Lord was telling Nicodemus, "You do not need teaching. You need a new birth and a new life. Nicodemus, you don’t need any more knowledge. As a teacher of the law of Moses you have enough knowledge already. What you need is a new life."
XVII. THE SAMARITAN WOMAN
Although the Samaritan woman was an immoral person, she was still religious. She had the traditional knowledge of religion, yet lived in sin without satisfaction (John 4:15-20). This proves that religion cannot help us. The Samaritan woman was on the line of knowledge. The Lord Jesus directed her to God, the Spirit, as the living water for her satisfaction (John 4:21-24, 14). Although she was on the line of knowledge, the Lord turned her to the line of life.
XVIII. THE JEWISH RELIGIONISTS
Now we come to the Jewish religionists. According to John 5, the Lord Jesus quickened a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. This happened on the Sabbath day, and the Jewish religionists were offended (John 5:1-16). They only cared for the Sabbath, not for man’s genuine rest. The palsied man had no rest, even on the Sabbath day, for a period of thirty-eight years. When the Lord Jesus quickened him he experienced true rest. The Jewish religionists condemned the Lord Jesus, and He said to them, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life...and you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." In other words, the Lord was telling them that they searched the Bible thinking that in it they had eternal life, yet they would not come to the Lord for that very life.
The same thing in principle is happening to people today. Many Christians search the Scriptures with the consideration that in them they have eternal life, yet they do not come to contact the living Lord Himself. It is possible for us to read many verses and chapters of the Bible without contacting the Lord. We should never separate our reading of the Bible from our contacting of the Lord. These two things must be one. Whenever we read a line of the Bible, we must say, "Lord Jesus, let me contact You in the divine Word. Lord, You are the living Word. Without You as the living Word I can receive nothing as life from the written Word. Lord, I must contact You. Although You are so mysterious, I praise You that You have given me such a tangible Word. This Word is solid, concrete, and substantial. I thank You for the Word that I can read and pray with. Yet, Lord, what I need is not the letter in black and white, but You, the living Spirit." This is the correct way to use the Scriptures. Never touch the Bible independently of the Lord. There is no need for you to read an immoral novel in order to experience death. If you read the Bible without being in the spirit, you will also experience death. Thus, even the reading of the Bible can be on the line of knowledge that leads to death.
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)