Do you read the Bible or do you study the Bible?
I have also found that many people believe that it pleases GOD when we read the bible. Reading the bible is not for the purpose of scoring points with GOD, or getting His approval. He desires that we read the bible to get guidelines, instructions, and safety. Also, some people use the word read and study when it comes to the bible interchangeably. However, there is a difference between these two words. We will explore the difference between reading and studying the bible.
We can equate reading and studying the bible to the different types of relationships we have. Our relationships are both casual and intimate relationships. We approach and value them differently because they serve different purposes. Causal relationships would be the coworkers, associates, or members of the same organization. In intimate relationships, it would be your family members, spouses, siblings, your best friends. With a casual relationship, you know just enough about the individual to hold a relaxed conversation. You might not know the sacred identity of these individuals; what their heart’s desire reflects; many things are hidden or kept secret in casual relationships. In intimate relationships we enjoy the conversations with these individuals; there are deep connections that bind us to a point of emotional attachments. Reading the bible is similar to a casual relationship, we only go surface level, whereas when we study, we give way to a more intimate relationship with the bible.
Reading the bible versus Studying the bible
- Many folks read the bible out of obligation because they feel it gains GOD approval. The bible is for our benefit.
- Reading the bible can be done at a pace like reading a novel.
- There is not much prep work or input of time.
- It is much easier to do and helps memorize scripture if you do it repetitively.
- Reading gives you familiarity with the bible.
- The goal of reading the bible for many is something on the to-do list or new year’s resolution.
- Reading the bible can help facilitate reference of verses in our prayer-life
- The bible gives a broader context of the word.
- Studying the bible is a desire for intimacy with the Father.
- There are three components to studying the word: Worship, Prayer, Revelation of knowledge.
- It gives us a deeper connection to His Word and His character.
- Studying causes the realization that you can never outgrow the scriptures, there can be new revelation or truth each time you study.
- It is more likely to produce encounters with Holy Spirit, the Father, & Jesus
- Studying causes you to slow down and do research
- The goal of studying the bible is to find or understand the hidden secrets in the Bible
- Study the bible can deliver a greater expectation of activation of the Word in our daily living
Balancing the two Reading and Studying
Reading and studying are both very beneficial. In his book, Habits of Grace, David Mathis states that “Bible reading is like watching the film in real-time. Study is like going through a clip frame by frame”. Studying the bible may not be feasible daily as it takes time to do that. Reading the bible is something we can do every day, as we can take one or a few scriptures to recite.
Knowing when to study when to read
- Set different times for bible study and bible reading, you may yourself frustrated when you try to combine the two.
- If you only have a few minutes it is good to just read the bible, while studying the bible will usually take at least 30 minutes.
- When checking on the validation of scripture, reading the scriptures may be the best vehicle. If you are validating the teaching you heard it would require the studying the bible.
- Whichever method you choose make sure to take time to pray and ask for guidance from Holy Spirit.
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