PITFALLS OF BIBLE STUDY

The bible is the word of God and we have to study the word of God, unfortunately the years have shown me that some people have not been shown how to properly study they word of God and have fallen into some pitfalls. I will strive to show some of the pitfalls that some have fallen into and how to avoid them.

Failure to read the whole passage. This is when a person reads a small part of the Bible and runs with it, without reading the whole passage. An example of this is the account in Acts of the philippian jailer, Acts 16:30-31, where Paul is asked by the Jailer what to do to be saved, and Paul says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”. Some people have run with this verse and discarded baptism, without realizing that if they read the whole passage, they will encounter in verse 33 that he and his whole family were baptized.

Arguments from silence. Some have argued that because the Bible does not mention the Apostles were baptized then it is not necessary. This argument is misguided for the following reason; just because the Bible does not mention their baptism it does not mean it did not happened. Arguments from silence in the scriptures are not valid.

Not considering eras. Some have argued that the thief in the Cross was saved just by believing in Christ and nothing else. Perhaps so, but the thief in the cross lived in a different era than the believers in the book of Acts, what applied to him can not apply to people living in the new church dispensation.

Not getting the full meaning. One of the reasons we need to read a passage many times and in multiple versions is to get the full meaning of what the passage is saying. Sometimes people do a superficial reading and off they go galloping without really understanding the full message.

Going to extremes. The best example of this is Calvin doctrine of predestination and the Armenian doctrine of free will. Usually people go to one extreme or the other, but that is not necessary, there can be a middle ground in these two doctrines. Those who say there is no middle ground, are the extremists who do not take into consideration the arguments from each camp.

Failure to use common sense. As someone said “Common sense is not that common” Jesus said that if our eye offended us we are to take out our eye and cast it out. Well common sense tells us that Jesus was not talking literally, otherwise where are the stories of early Christians having one eye only, because they followed this commandment?

Believing in contradictions. In the Bible there are no contradictions, only perceived contradictions. If something appears to be a contradiction is because we sometimes fail to understand that two verses that appear contradictory are actually stated from two different points of view. So the verses are not really contradictory but complementary.   

Trying to make a point. Sometimes people go to the Bible trying to find a scripture to make or prove a point. They did not get the idea from the Bible, but instead they go to the Bible for support for their idea. Like the preachers who went to the Bible in an attempt to justify slavery. By twisting the words of the Bible, just about anything can be supported or sanctioned.

Being highly selective. There are cults that are highly selective of the scriptures they quote. They find scriptures that support their doctrines and then hammer other people with those scriptures. Any other scriptures that contradict their doctrines are simply ignored.

Ignorance is not bliss. Some people are not able to understand some parts of the Bible so they simply ignore them. They act like those scriptures do not even exist. Ignoring a scripture does not make it go away.

Not considering the culture. Quite often people make mistakes in their bible study because they fail to take into consideration the culture differences between us and the people of biblical periods. The only way to understand this concept is to travel to some other countries and see that culture does make a difference.

Focusing on the wrong idea. Sometimes people read a scripture and they focus on the wrong idea or verse instead of what the passage is trying to say. Like someone focusing, concentrating or studying what John the Baptist ate instead of what he preached. Some people call this majoring on minors.

Blind acceptance. Some people blindly accept what others say about something in the Bible without checking it out for themselves. There are many people who have wrong ideas about what the Bible says and are not shy about stating their beliefs.

Criticizing the Bible. You do not go to the Bible to criticize it; you go to it to learn from God. You are not to judge the Bible; the bible is there to judge you. The Bible is a mirror that you look into to find the areas in your life that you need to work on.

Jumping around the Bible. Hopping and skipping around the Bible is not a very good way to study the Bible. It is better to settle down in a book or a passage and study it to get the understanding of it.  Going here and there in the Bible is not very productive.

I am sure there are probably some other pitfalls, but these are quite common and I hope to warn you in order that you will not fall into them.

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