Pitfalls in Bible Study #3 – The Bible Binge

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I don’t know anyone who consumes all their calories for the week in a single one hour sitting. But somehow when it comes to spiritual nurishment many Christians foolishly believe they can do exactly that. They come to worship for an hour a week and expect to get full and stay full for 7 days until they come back the following Sunday (unless they miss it) to fill themselves up again.

What is more, they expect to mature on spoon fed theology. This is spiritual puree, the meat of scripture processed down into its most basic components. These messages are meant to pack onto an already rich diet of Bible study and cannot sustain spiritual growth on their own. It is Bible binge eating…sitting down for one HUGE spiritual meal. It is completely unhealthy and unsustainable. What is contained in one weekly Bible class or sermon is not intended to be sustaining for the week or to be our recharge for the week. The real recharge should be happening throughout the week as we hunger and thirst for righteousness and seek the scriptures to find sustenance.

I would challenge any Christian who thinks all the Bible study they need can be spoon fed to them out of someone else’s preparation in a single 30 minute sermon or a single 1 hour Bible class to try the same thing with food and see how hard it is to make it through the week.

5 Tips for keeping away from this pitfall:

  1. Discipline РIt takes discipline in order to maintain a healthy  and consistent habit of Bible study. It takes discipline to make the difficult decision of what less important time wasters are going to have to leave your daily routine in order to put Bible study where it belongs.
  2. Structure – Some people are inconsistent because they don’t have a plan. Get a Bible study and work through the whole thing. When you are done with it, get another one. See this page for lots of free Bible studies.
  3. Make use of classes already available. Most churches have regular Wednesday night and Sunday night Bible studies. Some churches offer even more than that. Why not take advantage of these classes and enjoy sharing the Bible study with others.
  4. Accountability can be a healthy thing to keep us on track. It is true with many things in life, if you know someone else knows you are more likely to be consistent and do it even when you don’t feel like it.
  5. Takes notes – when you are in worship or Bible class take notes so that when you go home you can do further research of the questions you have or meditate over the points you found beneficial. It may be true of Vegas but it is not true of the church assembly – what happens in “church” does not need to stay in church.

0 Responses

  1. good ideas, matt. i really like the food metaphor. i’d like to mention some other bible study “ingredients.” i’d like to add to your discipline, forgiveness, and to your structure, realistic expectations. and to all, obedience and prayer.

    i’m disciplined in my personal bible study time, but i used to be disciplined to the point of unforgiving if i didn’t stick to the plan i’d laid out before me. i’m more lax now, and i’ve found that i enjoy my studies more. by more lax, i don’t mean that i don’t care when or if i study. i mean that if my daughter is awake and wants to play, i’ll play — and work in my study somewhere later in the morning. or i might just read through the text a few times without taking notes and writing as i normally would. i believe i’m still honoring God in doing so, and i like myself more.

    as for structure, i think one of the biggest mistakes some people make (not a mistake for all) is to decide they’re going to read the bible every day of the week, or all the way through in a year. and they try to go from no bible study to 30 minutes a day, seven days a week. then they get behind and upset and discouraged, and quit. i would encourage those who are not studying their bibles regularly now to start with 3-4 days a week — something that’s more doable, and not quite as shocking to the system. what i think they’ll find is that if they can discipline themselves to 3-4 days of reading, adding subsequent days will come really easy — because they’ll enjoy their bible study time more.

    i would also encourage those trying to get into bible study to read less for knowledge and more for obedience. actually, i’d encourage all Christians to do this. we know entirely too much to be as disobedient as we are. if you add bible study into your daily routine, but there’s no change in your life, you’ve wasted your time. some of us have the opposite problem of those to whom this post is written; we study our bibles to death. we may be in 4 or 5 different group bible studies a week, plus our own personal studies. i say obedience over “intelligence” any day.

    as for prayer, we all know that study and prayer go well together, and that each one complements the other. this is true especially when we’re reading for obedience — the Holy Spirit shows us in God’s word what we need to change in our lives, and we then ask God to give us the power to do so.

    anyway, sorry i wrote so much. the post just struck a cord. thanks for writing, matt.

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