7 common mistakes when studying the Bible

1. Deeper does not equal more esoteric. Deeper bible study would be a fuller grasp of the gospel. All doctrines ultimately lead to this one truth: Christ came into the world to save sinners.

2. We are too quick to place a text in our present context, not reading the Bible in the context it was written. In this way, many distorted and peripheral doctrines have come to the core. A classic example would be to read about the prosperity of the Israelites during the time of David and Solomon and assume that this should be the norm for the church today.

3. No eye for God. The Bible is first and foremost revelation from God about himself. All things are ultimately of him, through him and for him, including us. The Bible would make no sense if we only tried to look for what it says about man, without seeing what it says about man under God and God himself.

4. We read our own interpretations into the text. We don’t bother to work with the text and see what it’s true context and content is, but instead pick out nice phrases and words and then use them to teach our own philosophies. A similar variant would be to pick-and-choose favourite passages with no regard to their context.

5. We assume a pluralistic interpretation. Biblical truth is singular. Yes, there are debated doctrines, but the reason for debate is simply the result of each party believing that truth is singular. On the other hand, debates over matters of secondary importance should not divide churches. (Of course, there’s the matter of determining what is primary and what is secondary. Simple rule: we’re united by the gospel)

6. The chasm between doctrine and deed. Some are prone to jump to applications, some are content with knowing doctrine. Both will not do. We must take the time to work out what a text means, and then painstakingly work out whether there are any applications.

7. That being said, not all truths have a direct practical application. Some are there to increase our praise of God. It is vital to realise this, that oftentimes God is content for us to stand amazed at his glory, knowing that such worship cannot fail to work itself out in evangelism and mission and holy living.

 

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