Reading Reflection:

Knowing Scripture, R.C. Sproul (InterVarsity Press, 1977)

This book is an oldie but goodie (well, old for contemporary authorship that is). It is a great read on learning the basics of studying the Bible. But let’s look at the beginning problem:

It is important to note that the theme of this book is not how to read the Bible but how to study the Bible. There is a great deal of difference between reading and studying. Reading is something we can do in a leisurely way, something that can be done strictly for entertainment in a casual, cavalier manner. But study suggests labor, serious and diligent work.

Here then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy…

If you have read the whole Bible, you are in a small minority of Christian people. If you have studied the Bible, you are in an even smaller minority. Isn’t it amazing that almost every American has an opinion to offer about the Bible, and yet so few have actually studied it (17-18)?

This might show my age, or lack of class, but does anyone out there remember Arsenio Hall’s, “Things That Make You Go Hmm...?” Sproul writes about the overwhelming majority of Christians he spoke with in groups haven’t read through the whole Bible.  This has to be a reflection of contemporary Christianity’s low view of biblical authority. Over thirty years later, has it changed? If a visitor came into your church, would they see that you value entertainment, good programs, and gourmet coffee higher than the Word of God? Are we passionately encouraging and equipping one another to be able to teach new believers the content of our faith? Do we truly believe the Bible is God’s Word?  

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

5 Comments

For me, I couldn't read

For me, I couldn't read "cover to cover" to get throught the whole Bible. I would alternate books between genres as I went. I love the awesome comments from you guys. Thanks so much for adding to the quality of this blog.

Cricket, I am actually planning on doing an article on the church here soon. Tim, I pray for an awakening!

One thing that brought me to

One thing that brought me to a reformed view of theology was way back in 1998, when I was sent to Saudi Arabia for a 90 day trip. I did simple math and figured if I read 20 pages of the Bible everyday, I'd be able to read the entire Word in that 90 days.

Well, I returned home early from that trip when my mom passed away, but I had made it into Matthew or Mark (can't exactly remember).

I say this brought me to the reformed view of theology because reading large chunks of scripture at one sitting, over such a relatively short period of time, showed me the extreme patience, mercy, grace and continuity of God. What a wonderful God we serve!

Also, I think many American evangelical Christians' low view of scripture is closely tied to their low view of the church. An idea for a future post, maybe?

So, What's up, Doc? Are you

So, What's up, Doc? Are you gonna share the 3 yr plan? Just put my boys in Kindergarten and finally have some reading time carved out!

I like reading the Bible

I like reading the Bible cover to cover, and while I've done it in a single year a couple times taht's not how I usually do it. Instead, I like to get a new study Bible and read it through along with the study notes and essays as I go. It can take an awful long time to complete, but it is a lot like reading with a commentary open and ready for reference. I've done a number of them, but right now I'm using the Archaeological Study Bible. Really interesting insights.

As for whether lack of Bible study is "a reflection of contemporary Christianity’s low view of biblical authority", I venture that it is not restricted to contemporary Christians. Rather, this is a problem dating back to Old Testament times when we see a lack of reverence for God's word among the people and then periods of revival. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Cheers,
Tim

If anything, over thirty

If anything, over thirty years, it's gotten worse.

I remember the first time I read through the entire Bible; I was in college at Texas Tech at the time. I recall telling some folks that I'd finished, and remember quite a number of older folks (they were probably 40-ish and 50-ish!) telling me what an accomplishment that it was, and that they'd not even done that themselves. I was surprised then, but not anymore.

I can rarely find anyone today that's read it cover-to-cover.

I developed a three-and-a-half year reading plan for folks who can't get through it in a year. I still use that plan myself. (I'm in 1 Kings on this trip through.) It works well, because if you get a few days (or weeks) behind, it's still possible to catch up!