There are two dangerous positions when it comes to Bible study. The first group we’ll call the “go deep tribe”, the ones who live for things like word studies and cool and interesting background information. The second group we’ll call the “I’d rather be asleep tribe“. Those who, frankly, find more joy in sleep than resting in the truth of the biblical text each day. And it seems that most Christians I meet will have a natural tendency towards one or the other.
I tend to lean toward the go deep group. One of my greatest pleasures as an associate pastor is teaching a bible interpretation class on Sunday evenings. Helping people understand how to grasp the intended meaning of the Bible is something I feel I was made to do. Investigating context, analyzing verbs, looking for connections, understanding the background… all these things stir my heart to want to get into that text and start mining it for all its worth. Yet to become overly casual in the way I think and talk about the Bible is to tread down a slippery path. I can, at times, become overly familiar with the Holy and begin to speak cooly of weighty doctrines such as total depravity or substitutionary atonement. The danger is subtle, and it is real.
For others of us, the I’d rather be asleep tribe, we struggle to get ourselves into the Bible at all. We try different reading plans, devotionals, etc. all to no avail. Sometimes, if we’re honest, the Bible just feels boring. We make honest attempts to set the alarm an hour earlier, yet when the time comes, we just hit the snooze and roll over. This too, is dangerous.
What both groups need is a clearer picture of God. The God presented to us in the Bible is simultaneously beautiful, terrifying, glorious, holy, excellent, satisfying, lovely, pure, kind, magnificent, and good! It never ceases to amaze me that the God who placed the stars and planets in the sky also desires to make Himself known to a rebellious humanity. Grace upon grace! To know this God is the most important pursuit of our lives. Not knowing about God, but knowing God.
For us go deep tribe members, we need to always keep that as our goal when “digging deep” in to the Biblical text. If our Bible study does not lead to worship, something is wrong. For us I’d rather be asleep folks, our hearts must be gripped by the truth that this God has made Himself known to us through His Word! We can know God! Until He so captures our hearts, ten more minutes of sleep will always be more appealing.
Let us all, the “go deep” and “rather be asleep” tribes alike, repent from our lack of affections for God. And let us dive again in to the Scriptures, swimming in the glory of God, soaking in the radiance of His splendor, and being overwhelmed by the riches of His kindness expressed to us through Christ Jesus!
To help foster encouragement for both groups, I’ve included an excellent video by John Piper that should provide just the boost you need to get back in the Bible and study it the way is was meant. It’s just 5 minutes and it is well worth your time. Enjoy.