Short-circuiting processes is what our fast-paced world is all about. We’ve seen delivery times cut down to the same day; a full meal able to be microwaved and on the table in five minutes. Most of this short-circuiting isn’t bad, but what happens when we use the same tactics on our time in the Word?
I’ve been learning a lot about Bible study this year. And I’m not even specifically talking about the things I’ve learned from the Word itself, which I praise God for revealing. I’m talking about the WAY I study my Bible.
For so long, I didn’t truly wrestle with the hard places in Scripture. The easy sections? Sure, I typically thought through those a little bit. But the hard questions and passages? I figured that was what commentaries written by theologians were for.
But Scripture is the Word of God – it’s important that we wrestle with it on our own. As Jen Wilkin commented in Women of the Word:
“The Bible does not want to be neatly packaged into three-hundred-and-sixty-five-day increments. It does not want to be reduced to truisms and action points. It wants to introduce dissonance into your thinking, to stretch your understanding. It wants to reveal a mosaic of the majesty of God one passage at a time, one day at a time, across a lifetime.”
Taking time to wrestle through Scripture may be difficult, but it is so much more rewarding than short-circuiting the process by getting answers from elsewhere. Yes, hard study takes time. It forces us to set to work with literature comprehension tools, like key themes and context.
But putting the work into wrestling with the text allows us to walk away knowing that, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we were able to come to a better understanding of God. Sure, there will be a time and a place to rely on the commentary and teaching of others. But let’s make that the last place we go instead of the first, let’s stop taking shortcuts in Bible study.
After all, learning about God and wrestling with His Word on our own is so much more fulfilling and meaningful than reading the conclusions of other people.