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Monday, November 19, 2012

Bible Study

I was talking to a friend who had been traveling ... for a couple of years. (Must be nice.) He told of staying in a small, out-of-the-way place for several months while visiting out-of-the-way family. He told me about the little church he and his wife attended while there and about getting a few people interested in a small Bible study. Frankly, that's exciting stuff. God has done a lot of work on my friend's heart. Of course, it wasn't easy getting them interested at first, but they came around. And he really overcame their resistance to the idea by going to the local bigger city for a Christian bookstore where he could buy books for the study. You see, "I wanted to be sure to get some good Bible study books because you don't want to get this thing wrong."

I heard a few interesting things in that comment. First, studying the Bible is good, nay, important, and getting it right is very important. Getting the Word wrong is a bad thing. I can think of a few people (types of people) who would benefit from such a perspective. Second, the Bible is difficult to get right. Studying it for yourself is, perhaps, okay, but studying it yourself for teaching more than yourself is likely unwise at best and dangerous at worst. Better leave that to the professionals. Third, if you can get it in a book, that's likely a good thing. I mean, they don't print books with false teaching in them, do they? Look, if someone has taken the time to write the book and someone else has invested the money to publish the book, surely there is some ... reliability there. Published Bible studies are far superior to just reading the Word and teaching it yourself.

Of course, my friend said no such thing. But it's what I heard. He may not believe a single thing I heard, but it's what I might infer from such a statement. And I would infer such because I think there is more than a small number of Christians who believe such. So, no reflection on my friend, but I do think this is a common view. Bible study is good ... but don't try to do it on your own. Leave that to the professionals. If you're going to be part of a small group studying the Bible together, it's probably best if you study a book about the Bible because those guys are professionals and you're not.

Does anyone see a problem with this?


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I see a big problem with it. I see this problem it way too many churches and "Bible study" groups. Their idea of a "Bible study" is to buy a book or book series and study that instead of the Bible. I see it especially with women's groups as their favorite "Bible study" books seem to be garbage by Beth Moore.

What ever happened to studying the Bible!?!?!

Bryan said...

Your post reminded me of something that a pastor named Voddie Baucham said when he was here in Iowa at our Homeschool conference. He was talking about Christian book stores and that there should be a sign at the front of all of them saying "Not all books endorsed by Jesus Christ." Now, I don't believe that was the only answer you were angling for, but I figured that was part of it. :)

David said...

As long as the book is used as an aid to studying the Bible, and is not the study focus itself, it can be a good thing. It can also be a way of preventing yourself from creating something "new". Personally I am leery of modern authors and tend to prefer older theologians. Getting a book for a Bible study carries the danger of not actually studying the Bible.

Stan said...

Glenn, I am appalled at the number of "Bible Studies" accomplished without the use of a Bible. They study books and call it "Bible Study". I'm with you.

Bryan, That is one key answer, I think. We laugh at those who say, "If it's on the Internet it must be true" and then seem to buy wholly "If it's in the Christian bookstore, it must be true."

David, I am a great fan of aids. But like staring at the finger that is pointing at the moon rather than at the moon, they can get in the say.