I absolutely love learning. I’m in school for a second bachelor’s because I love learning. I love to read non-fiction to grow and read people’s thoughts. This doesn’t change when I read the Bible.
I grew up going to church and Christian school for basically all of Kindergarten through 12th grade, which means the Bible was read or studied 6 out of 7 days a week. But I can still say that reading the Bible, and studying it to know it and to know God is still hard for me. I have such a hard time coming to the Bible and asking the right questions to study it and I also, honestly, always want to take the easy way out and have a book of some sort do the work for me.
But more and more I get frustrated to end my personal or group Bible Study with feeling defeated and as if I’ve learned a lot of background information or what a lot of very wise pastors or theologians have to say but very little about what the Bible really says itself. God’s given us the Holy Spirit and will speak to us directly and I want that more than anything.
When I went to Israel it was with Precept Ministries which is about studying the Bible. I loved how David and Kay Arthur would teach just using the Bible and reading it for different things so you could understand it yourself. It was encouraging and gave me hope that this is something I could continue. And it is, but it’s still sometimes defeating when it gets hard or I feel like I’m missing the right questions to ask to interact with the passages.
And then you see like, Piper’s new “Look at the Book” thing. I love it. I love that he’s seeking to encourage Bible literacy and people’s personal study of the Bible sans commentaries, sermons, and books. While I’m also encouraged by it, I’m also defeated because he’s SO good at it, and I’m not. I know it comes with time and commitment, but sometimes I just don’t want to do that either.
Then there’s Jen Wilkin who leads Bible studies in the Dallas area for women. And it isn’t going through some prewritten Bible study book that deals with something women deal with. It’s reading a book of the Bible and studying it. And it makes me so happy that she’s doing this for women specifically. That she’s not settling to teach women through one topical study after the next. And hearing her speak for just a few minutes at the Desiring God National Conference was encouraging and made me happy. Her passion for people to stop relying on absolutely everything else and put the Bible as the secondary tool. I desire that. I want that so much. I’m reading her book, Women of the Word and it’s encouraging because she’s honest about the work it takes. That you have to be patient and prayerful and consistent. But that it’s so so worth it.
Teachers are seeking to teach others to really study the Bible for themselves. To rely on the Holy Spirit and skills to teach and learn the Bible more than commentaries and sermons and podcasts (and I fully believe all these have their place in Bible study). Bible literacy is coming to the front of a lot of people’s goals- to teach and to know. And now I — we — can be encouraged in this.