I have access to a few thousand books about the Bible. As much as I love and appreciate so many of those books, there is only one Bible. As much as I love studying about the Bible and as necessary as that is for our understanding of the Bible…reading about the Bible is no substitute for reading the Bible.
At the end of my days I desire to have read far more Bible than books about the Bible.
Books about the Bible can help us appreciate language, time/history, and culture. Books about the Bible are the benefit and blessing to us by scholars who have spent their whole lives studying specific topics and they have much insight to give us. But they aren’t the inspired word of God.
The Bible is the inspired word of God written to help us come to an understanding of who God is, what He has done, what He is doing and where things are headed.
The Bible is how we come to be disciples (with the help of the Spirit and other disciples). No book can do this like the Bible does. If we are to follow Jesus as disciples, we need to hear what he said, not just read about what he said.
I encourage you, if you enjoy reading books about the Bible, to take some time off of those books and get back to reading the Bible alone for a while. Learn to listen to and for the voice of Jesus. This is pivotal for our discipleship.
This is a great post! I once heard Gus Nichols from Jasper, Alabama – an old, seasoned preacher and debater – say that someone had said to him that he must spend a lot of time studying the arguments of those whom he debated. He said his reply was no, he spent his time studying the Bible. When he studied the Bible, he could see the errors of his disputants – and was often able to get them to change their positions.
Great post and great comment by Jerry