Avoid these mistakes during Bible Study.

Written by On Wednesday, 23 September 2020 13:02
Avoid these mistakes during Bible Study.
I recently shared this Instagram post  and the response on it showed that it needed to be expressed in longer prose form, so here we go. Many of us grow into mature Christians that are able to rightly divide the word of God as Paul exhorts, but usually that growth journey involves some mistakes along the way.  We have an increasing number of Bible translations and Bible formats which is ideally a good thing. But, for the same reason, we need to be more cautious that these conveniences do not incline us to mishandle God’s Word. I confess that I have also made these mistakes. But we want to be better about it, right? Have a look at these common mistakes and let’s all make an effort to do better.
Application happy
You know you’re one of these when you are not satisfied with time in the word if it does not result in you knowing- this is what God wants me to do. You are always looking for what does this mean for me and how I live? Rather than asking "Who am I?" and "What should I do?" Jen Wilkin, author of Women of the Word: suggests asking "Who is God?" and "What has he done?" The Bible is a book that boldly and clearly reveals who God is on every page. We miss this important aspect when we become self-centered instead of God-centered. Does the Bible have application? Yes of course, however a revelation of who God is, actually leads us to ask, what then? Therefore, spending more time discovering the God of the Bible will often result in a much greater understanding of ourselves as believers.
Skipping over certain texts or books of the Bible
This can happen for two reasons: 1. The text fails to deliver an immediate dose of emotional satisfaction or 2. The text is difficult and you consider it beyond your comprehension. What will happen then, is that we are unlikely to read Leviticus or Lamentations if we subscribe to this approach. A well-rounded approach to Bible study challenges us to navigate all areas of the Bible, even those that make us uncomfortable or that are difficult to understand. As we say at the Saturday PM- we seek the whole counsel of the Bible and not skipping over the seemingly “difficult” passages. Doing expositional Bible study is a great way to jump this specific hurdle.
Reading books about the Bible instead of the actual Bible
Extrabiblical resources like devotionals and commentaries can be of great help when seeking to understand the Bible and the Christian life, but they are never meant to replace God's Word itself. The more time we spend in the primary source (the Bible), the more we'll know and understand it. Other people's thoughts about the Bible are meant to supplement our own personal engagement with Scripture. If you prefer reading what others have written about the Bible to reading the Bible itself, you're probably reading what someone says about what someone says about what the Bible says. Some unpopular opinions I hold about devotionals are 1. If you are so accustomed to using one that you have no idea what to do with your Bible without a devotional, then it has done you more harm than good- it's time to get rid of it. 2. If you only use a devotional for your time with God without the Bible - get rid of the devotional and get a Bible instead. Inspirational words from human beings are a paltry substitute for the word of God.
John 6:68 “Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life.”
Not engaging in prayer
I am very big on learning all the skills you can to grow in your ability to actively engage with the scriptures. But there is only so far that we can go with our human minds. Especially in those difficult passages, because not engaging and calling on divine understanding will cause us to miss out on what God is actually telling us. The other thing that can happen is that we become puffed up in our acquisition of "knowledge" with no heart. We must learn to incorporate prayer in the beginning, in the end and at any point when we get stuck. Getting this helpful guidance from the Holy Spirit requires that we ask him in prayer to teach us.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26
Assuming modern definitions of biblical words
Very few Greek or Hebrew words have an exact English equivalent. So, we have to remember that the English words in a translation may not mean exactly the same thing as the original Greek or Hebrew. Does this mean that we must know Greek and Hebrew to study the Bible? No, not at all. However, we can make a little effort to search out some of these translations from the numerous free online resources especially when we are doing word studies that requires us to look into the meaning of certain words. Additionally, examining the occurrences of these words in different parts of the Bible will help you see the different ways that it has been translated for an even greater appreciation. Bible dictionaries and concordances are great tools for this.
Bringing preconceptions to the text
It is very easy to read the Bible selectively, in order to prove an idea that we already believe to be true or a conclusion that we have already made; especially if we are trying to win an argument. If we do this, we can force the scripture to say whatever we want. That might make us feel better, but it won’t be doing us any good. Rather, we should open the Bible with humility, knowing that some of our beliefs are wrong and ought to be changed. We must let the text speak for itself without forcing our own preconceptions on it.
Trashing one scripture with another
Sometimes in a bid to do prove a point or win an argument, we bring up another verse that seemingly contradicts or disproves another verse. This is especially likely to occur in Bible Study groups. The truth of the matter is both of the "contradicting" verses are in the Bible, as opposed to trying to prove one scripture wrong with another, we should in humility find the meeting(harmony) point for both scriptures. When you think that the Bible is contradicting itself, the problem is not the Bible-it's you. (harsh truth) 
In this case, humility and prayer become very important part of Bible Study.
Which of these have you found yourself guilty of?
Check out this podcast on the importance of personal Bible study and how to get started.

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