Don’t you just love Dr. Seuss books? When Andrew is sent to get some books to read without fail he always gets one or two Dr. Seuss books. They rhyme, are easy to read, and just plain silly. I’m personally fond of them because they bring back precious memories of holding my children and spending quality time reading to them. There is nothing wrong with reading Dr. Seuss books, especially if you are a child. But, if I only encourage my children to read Dr. Seuss their vocabulary will never mature. They will never grow in knowledge and be able to understand classical literature. A child who never reads beyond Dr. Seuss will never be able to comprehend Shakespeare. It just won’t happen.
The same thing applies to growing in spiritual knowledge. There is a time and place for “Dr. Seuss” type learning. A new believer can be quite overwhelmed with the concepts laid out in scripture therefore a practical Bible study guide can be very beneficial. But over time, the new believer should be moving on to the deep doctrines of Christ. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb 5:12-14)
I believe that the Bible is clear on how to study scriptures and grow in knowledge. “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” (Isa 28:9-10) Scripture should be studied in context; precept upon precept, line upon line. The most common mistake made in studying the Bible is taking verses out of context. Text without context is pretext. When scripture is taken out of context it is easy to have preconceived ideas about what is means. It’s easy to twist verses taken out of context and teach false heretical ideas. For that reason expository study is the best in order to fully understand the truths of God.
So, you may ask, do I believe that all Bible studies are wrong? Of course not, no more than I believe that it’s wrong to read Dr. Seuss. But, I do believe that if you want to grow and learn the doctrines more perfectly than you should open up your Bible and study from it; verse by verse, line by line, chapter by chapter and book by book. The best commentary for the Bible is the Bible itself. The Bible never contradicts itself, hence any truth found in one portion of scripture will be found elsewhere. One of the main problems that I have with most “Bible Studies” is that most will come from the mistaken view of ecumenicalism. As a result of this wrong thinking the teachers will purposely avoid any “divisive doctrine” in scripture in order to reach out to a wider range of evangelicals. Therefore, what is taught is shallow and just scratches the surface of the deep waters of truths. (Or, in a worse situation the scripture is taken completely out of context and is heretical.)
So, do you want a challenge? Do you want to mature in your faith? Would you rather read the Words of Christ? Then put on the Holy Spirit and dive into the life giving waters and be prepared to go deeper and deeper than ever before.