There is a trap we all need to be wary of as we approach our personal Bible Study each day. But first let me begin with a little story–
I was so proud of myself– I had made it all the way to the Old Testament Prophets in my goal to read the Bible through in a year. But I was really struggling through these “hard to understand” books. They are filled with some pretty difficult passages and I found them really perplexing. I would find my mind wandering as I read them and–honestly–was not finding my daily reading a pleasant endeavor in any way.
I was talking to my brother (the pastor) sometime while I was in the midst of Jeremiah and decided to share my struggles with him, ending with this sentence, “I am just not enjoying these books at all.”
He gave a wry laugh and said, “Well, I would first say this: Bible Study isn’t about your enjoyment.”
“We study the Bible to learn about God.” (or something like that–not his exact words…)
I was so dismayed to find that my personal belief system had been so affected by the consumerism and self-focus around me that I had fallen prey to this subtle philosophy. I had actually thought for a moment that it is all about ME and what I get from my Bible Reading.
We have this notion that every time we open the Bible — or sit in a church service — or listen to a preacher on the radio –that we need to come away with something that is personally applicable to our lives. We grow quickly bored and unenamored if this personal application is not forthcoming.
Now, let me be clear– God’s Word is filled with lessons that we can apply each and every day. There is more there than I will ever be able to put into practice in my short lifetime.
But sometimes, we will find ourselves in an obscure passage that doesn’t apply to us personally. Instead it will be teaching us about God and who He is. It will be teaching us about the history or the future of His people, the Jews. And while it might not be personally applicable, we will be deepening our understanding of who God is.
Don’t fall into this trap like I did! Bible Study is about so much more than me. After all, as believers, our ultimate goal is to know God and to make Him known. This is why we read and study His Word. The personal applications are the wonderful extras that come as we grow to know Him more, but let’s be sure to keep our eyes focused on Him as we study the Word.
26 thoughts on “Beware This Bible Study Trap!”
thanks for this article. God bless, and go with Christ
Thank you :)
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The way I got more involved is that I started to share the gospel every morning with a worker of mine. I would go early before we open the store and read a scripture. After reading the scripture I than give him my observation and than we go the work. Every morning we do the same and as the word continue to inspire you it must be that you develop the desire to share the word to others. The bible is a book of inspiration and unless you adapt, inspire, share or promote the gospel than reading or studying the bible does not mean anything to you. It is a book of self growth in everything that is positive. It is generator of love and compassion. I wake up every morning with a desire to enjoy the two breakfast that I need in order to be in balance which is my spiritual and physical breakfast. Do not forget that our body is the temple of Christ. Who ever I meet on the road I feel the need and desire to share the gospel to anyone I meet.
Amen! I would go one step further and would say that the Bible is Truth–the only place we can find out how to be reconciled with a righteous and holy God. And the only place to find truth and resources for lasting change.
It is wonderful to hear of your deep love for our heavenly Father, but, you cannot learn about him by reading his word from Genesis to Revelation with understanding. You first need to understand what it means, “old testament” and the “new testament” before you can understand his will. The “old testament” covers the history of the jews from Abraham onwards, that is why it is referred to as the old testament, or old covenant, between Israel, God’s people through Moses.
When Jesus came to the earth he came to the Israelites in fulfilment of the promises through Moses from God and told them they were no longer under the laws through Moses because he was the messiah that fulfilled them, ending them. But the Jews were a stiff necked people and would not accept jesus and having him killed showed their deep disrespect to our heaven father. The wonderful hope for life was then opened up for the gentiles to put faith in our lord and have eternal life. He started a new people, Christian people which replaced the Jews who chose to stay under Moses instead. Forming the “new testament, or new covenant”.
We are not under the old testament, the old covenant between the Jews and Moses but under a new testament, a new covenant under our lord Jesus. And although the old testament is full of historical facts which we need to know and understand we cannot as christians quote any of the laws from it and live by them because we are not under them.
I too have journals
What you refer to is Covenant Theology, which I believe to completely unbiblical. Here is a quote from an article on this very subject–
Scripturally, covenant theology is wrong in both how Israel is viewed and how prophecy is interpreted. The proper method for interpreting Scripture is to read it in a normal sense. Unless the text indicates that it is using some kind of figurative language, it should be taken literally. When Scripture speaks of Israel, it is not referring to the Church, and when the Church is spoken of, it is not referring to Israel. God has one plan for Israel and another for the Church. Also, with reference to prophecy, all prophecies that have been fulfilled were fulfilled literally, not figuratively. Christ literally fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah when He came 2,000 years ago. There is no reason to think that unfulfilled prophecies are to be understood in a figurative sense. As with those in the past, future prophecy will be fulfilled literally in the future.
I would strongly encourage you to make 100% sure that you understand what you have written above. It changes everything–from biblical prophecy as told in Revelation to our feelings as a church body for Israel. I think if you give it some thought you will start understanding how Covenant Theology couldn’t possibly be true. Honestly, the astounding miracles involved in Israel’s survival alone over the past 100 or more years discount that theology considerably so I would suggest you do some reading of Israel’s history, as well.
Yes. Or known commonly as, “Replacement Theology”.
If you are happy beleiving as you do then nothing I say will change that. Don’t forget the apostle Paul was very outspoken with his teachings on our lord Jesus which the Jews did not want to listen to because they had their own ideas, but they were wrong. thanks for you time.
It has absolutely nothing to do with my “happiness” and everything to do with correctly interpreting scripture. Again, I just really encourage you to search for the truth. I think you may be surprised at what you find out if you look at it from a different perspective.
“Something doesn’t have to be fun to be good.”
I tell my kids this all the time…and I need reminding too!
Thx for the good post!
So true!! Good words in this entertainment driven society.
Thank you! :)
Thank you for your time and quest for God’s wisdom also your willingness to share
Thank you :)
Yes the Bible is not for entertainment Though tales like David and Goliath, Wisdom of Solomon can be quite entertaining The message as I see it in the NT is how Yeshua is the Messiah. How great feels
Amen and Amen! Yeshua, the “Word,” is the way, the truth, and the life! How I’ve caught myself with that erroneous type of thinking as well when listening to sermons. It’s all about God’s greater glory; not us. Thank you for being transparent and willing to share.
What a great truth to understand!
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Curious if you ever got through the Bible. I struggle with that. There are so many J Mac articles and sermons that it’s hard to stay with anything. Thanks again for this great site. I have passed it on to others.
I did! Twice :) and I’m on my third time this year. It’s definitely a challenge but I hope you can stick with it one of these times :) And thank you for your kind words!
Thanks for the article. It will bring joy back into my Bible reading which seems to have somehow turned into a work. I will refocus the purpose to be spending time with the Lord through His word instead of striving to find an application or new understanding and checking a day’s reading off my list of things to do. God bless you. Maranatha.
Thank you for letting me know this has helped. I am always so very grateful if a lesson I’ve learned helps someone else :)