“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.” – John 5:39-42
Is it possible to study the Bible and come away less loving than before? I think so. How is that possible? It all beings with the reason why you decide to study the Bible. If you study the Bible to be able to hammer and smash other people’s doctrine and beliefs and to find a way for things to be exactly how you think they should be then it shouldn’t be a surprise when that is exactly what your study produces within you. But if you study the Bible to be more godly and more Christ-like should it be surprising when we find ourselves transformed into more loving, caring, and gentle people than ever before? It all depends on where you are starting from and what your intentions are.
I am not saying we shouldn’t have discussions about things we disagree on. I am saying that when two disagreeing parties are both looking at scripture with the aim of submitting to scripture (not to prooftexting scripture but to what scripture is saying in context) then things are much more amiable and even though we might disagree both will walk away better for having had the conversation.