Pitfalls in Bible Study #1 – Information Overload

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Often people start off wanting to study their Bible so they start where any normal person might think reasonable to start, at the beginning of the book. After reading through Genesis and catching a few familiar stories they get to Exodus. It is a little less familiar but readable, enough to keep up the momentum. But by the time they reach Leviticus and Numbers only the best intentioned make it through to Deuteronomy and beyond. Unfamiliarity and lack of immediate application set in and people often lose their focus within the first four books of the Bible, taking them to mid to late February and quickly losing steam.

The old practice of 3 chapters a day on week days and 5 on weekend days might get you through the Bible in a year but it might not teach you very much. I am an advocate of people reading the entire Bible but I think there is a difference between Bible study and Bible reading. There is certainly some overlap but the two don’t exactly equal each other. Often people get bogged down and lose motivation to continue because of information overload.They are simply trying to make sure they get through each day’s reading whether it does or doesn’t make sense. They are biting off too big of pieces to make sense of and don’t have enough time to ask or answer any of their questions. Have you ever taken too big a bite of something and regretted it? It hurt to swallow it and hurt to digest it. Turns out, it wasn’t a good idea. Things are more digestible in smaller bites. They taste better too! Take time to savor the Bible and let the different contours and textures of the text have time to mull around in your brain a while. We get more out of the Bible this way than just reading right over everything trying to get in our chapters for the day.

This has trapped many people and resulted in many failed attempts in daily Bible reading as a New Year’s resolution. I would suggest taking the Bible in smaller chunks studying no more than a chapter each day (preferably less). That way you have time to write down your questions and try to find the answers and the task does not become overwhelming.

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