Why I Stopped Using Bible Study Methods

Before I get into it, let me just say that I am definitely not opposed to studying the Bible.  God’s precious Word should be studied and examined so that we can know Him and follow in His ways.  He is worthy of our diligence, and we can learn the way to live.

But I had to take a break from Bible study methods.

I lean more towards type A than type B, C, or D.  (If those even exist!? I only hear about type A!)  I fear I am the worst kind of high-maintenance: the one who thinks she’s low-maintenance when in fact she is high.

There are some things that I am very flexible and laid back about, but there are other things that must be done in just the right way or it drives me bonkers.For the past two nights, my husband has put my son in mis-matching winter pajamas.  The top has Blaze from Cars and the bottom has Spiderman.  This is not a huge deal, but it is a minor annoyance that I would like fixed.

Because, by disposition, I am prone to over-achieve, I have found that using particular Bible study methods can fall into the same category as memorizing the periodical table, if I am not careful.

So I have, for the most part, ceased all forms of Bible study “methods”.  I love the Bible, and there are seasons when I will read the it as study, but mostly now I just read the Bible to hear from the Lord.  What is the Holy Spirit saying to me today?  What can I know of God and His ways in these passages?

Every year, I read through The One Year Bible.  It used to freak me out if I missed a day, but I have chosen to let that go.  If missing a day will completely throw you off, then I suggest you print out your own checklist to read the Bible in a year and mark it as you go.  That way, if you miss a day, you won’t get left behind and the dates won’t throw you off.

I like using The One Year Bible because I know that I am getting the full text of the Scriptures.  Without it, I think I would be prone to stay on the books that I like the most.

Sometimes, I feel the Holy Spirit nudge me to dwell on a specific book for awhile, so I take a break from the One Year and just read and re-read the passages and/or books that He is highlighting.

I stopped merely studying the Bible and started reading to know God. #bible Click To Tweet

Using Bible study methods had become a way of checking off one of my religious duties for the day.  For me, they can easily become dry, just another form of study, if my focus is on the study.  I think it is very helpful to know how to study the Bible and to have worked through some of the methods out there, but we have to be careful to not let the study get in the way of us connecting with God.  They are meant to be tools to lead us to Him.

When Bible Study Gets in the Way of Jesus

Bible study can bring us closer to God.  I have learnt much about Him, and He has showed me many things through various methods, but I am now more careful than in the past that I do not let my time with Him just become about the study that I am doing.

The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible.  He is the author, and when we read it, we can know Him.  We are not reading the Bible for the Bible itself.  The Bible does not have any value apart from God.  Maybe that sounds sacrilegious.  My Bible is my most precious possession, but my point is that the Bible is meant to be a map that directs us to Jesus.  If we are not reading it to know Him, to meet with Him, then it really is just a religious duty.  The same as if we were still sacrificing lambs or turtle doves in the Old Testament.

If we are not reading the Bible to know Jesus, then it is just religious duty. #Bible Click To Tweet

The Bible can make you wise.  It can teach you about history.  It can entertain you with lots of incredible stories.  But none of these are the main point of the Bible.

Through the Bible, we can encounter God.  GOD!  The Creator of the Universe!  The Being who put all systems into place.

Bible study can be helpful.  Bible memorization can be helpful.  Journaling and highlighting and analyzing the Bible can be helpful.  Nothing is wrong with any of these practices.

But let us keep in mind that the focus of each is to draw us closer to the Lord.  HE is the beautiful One, worthy of being known.

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34 Comments

  • Liz December 7, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Even good things can become idols. You are wise to know yourself well enough to keep that from happening with Bible study. May the Holy Spirit lead and guide you to impart wisdom and understanding as you study the Word! Blessings!

    Reply
  • Heather December 7, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I am so glad to come across someone else who feels this way. I can’t do Bible in a year readings because it becomes a chore, not a way to get to know God or connect with Him. I still love my quiet time, but I use it to focus on Jesus instead of a to-read list.

    Reply
    • Brooke Grangard December 7, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      Yes! Thank-you for sharing, Heather. I love that you’ve found the best way to connect with Jesus through His Word.

      Reply
  • bethany mcilrath December 8, 2016 at 9:24 am

    “They are meant to be tools to lead us to Him.” -Amen. Brooke I love this. I’m a type A person in many ways too, and I fiercely love studying. Sometimes I cross the line to idolizing information, though. That’s what study methods for Scripture sometimes come down to for me- and devotional reading too. I ask the Lord to help me and keep my feet firmly on His path and eyes turned to Him! And I also have a flexible, Spirit-dependent Bible reading plan. For the past two years, I pick a Gospel and then rotate between a NT and OT book (or letter) along with a Gospel. Everyday I go to these two places in Scripture and read until the Spirit has caught my attention, challenged me to dwell on a verse, or I’ve read far and can’t remember what I read! Then I go back. Haha. Anyway- thanks for this wisdom and encouragement to let even Bible reading be about Him!

    Reply
    • Brooke Grangard December 8, 2016 at 10:11 am

      I love this! Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I really appreciate the way that you continue to read the whole Bible yet are sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. I find sometimes the danger in throwing out “study” is that we just read the parts we like, but your way of doing it sounds really helpful. Thanks!

      Reply
      • bethany mcilrath December 8, 2016 at 10:41 am

        So glad! That was definitely a concern. One of the only “rules” I follow is not rereading any book (except the Gospels) if I remember reading it recently! That way I end up reading those less memorable (including the ones I like less!) Plus I do study the Bible using methods, just not daily as with this! Thanks!

        Reply
        • Brooke Grangard December 8, 2016 at 12:05 pm

          Thanks, Bethany! Really good encouragement for us!

          Reply
  • Sherry Stahl December 8, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Brooke,
    I <3 <3 <3 this post! Just a few of the impactul words from your post:
    "we have to be careful to not let the study get in the way of us connecting with God…The Bible does not have any value apart from God…the Bible is supposed to be a map that directs us to Jesus…If we're not reading the Bible to know Jesus, then it is just religious duty…"
    Would you be ok if I shared your post on my blog Using your graphic and putting a link there for people to read?
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

    Reply
    • Brooke Grangard December 8, 2016 at 10:09 am

      Thank-you, Sherry! And yes, feel free! It’s all about connecting with Jesus. Blessings to you!

      Reply
      • Sherry Stahl December 8, 2016 at 10:31 am

        Brooke,
        I’m working from my ipad as my computer is getting new software added to it. I am going to try and send it out today, but might not be today 🙂 I do want to share it though.
        ~Sherry

        Reply
  • KellyRBaker December 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    This is great, Brooke! Being led by the Holy Spirit and opening our heart to see what He is saying to us each day helps keep methods from becoming a duty. It’s about having a relationship with God.

    Reply
  • Christin Baker December 8, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing, Brooke! It can be so tempting put Jesus on our to-do list and “check off” our devotion time because it’s the Christian thing to do, rather than sit at his feet and really get to know him. God’s Word was never meant to become a rote task, but a living, vibrant relationship with the Word in flesh! Thanks for the reminder that it’s all about Him!

    Reply
  • Michele Morin December 9, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Like Liz at the top of the comments, I, too, can turn any good thing into an idol. I’ve been reading through books at a snail’s pace for the past few years — One chapter a week, read it over and over. It has taken me most of the year to get through I and II Corinthians, but I’m coming away feeling as if I know the basics of what Paul was trying to communicate! I make myself wait until Thursday before I allow myself ANY commentaries. That helps too.

    Reply
    • Brooke Grangard December 9, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      That’s such wisdom, Michele- to give yourself time to hear from the Holy Spirit before looking to others’ interpretations. There’s so much in there as we pause to meditate. Thank-you for sharing!

      Reply
  • Lisa Morris December 9, 2016 at 10:18 am

    My Pastor told our congregation that Bible Study can become an idol. At the time I did not understand what he meant but I do now! I am like you, let’s check this off so we can get to the next thing! Praising God he has lifted the veil off of my eyes! Thank you for your sharing your wisdom in this!

    Reply
    • Brooke Grangard December 9, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      It’s totally my pleasure, Lisa! It’s easy to get caught up in the “to-do” religion and forget Jesus came to set us free from all that! God Bless!

      Reply
  • Angela Howard December 9, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    I love your heart to know the Lord! It’s not about the method, but about Jesus. So true! Visiting from #graceandtruth today 🙂

    Reply
  • Courtney December 9, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    My 1st time to visit your blog, great reminder 🙂

    Reply
  • Ami Coote December 10, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    This is a good reminder Brooke. It’s easy to get caught in checking days off a schedule – maybe that’s why so many of us failed to complete the Bible year the first few times we tried it. Until we set out to meet Jesus in his word we’re not going to get the blessings that he has in store for us.

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Meyers December 10, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    I’ve been guilty of letting my study habits get in the way of my relationship with Jesus too! Thanks for the great reminder to keep first things first!

    Reply
  • Jen December 11, 2016 at 2:12 am

    Yes, fellow type A here. 🙂 My quiet time can easily become just another duty, so I do much the same as you where I vary the type of reading or study I’m doing. I really like to read through whole books of the Bible slowly – gives that big picture feeling. I’m stopping by from Grace and Truth tonight.
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

    Reply
    • Brooke Grangard December 11, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      I like getting that big picture too, Jen! Thanks for adding to our conversation!

      Reply
  • Nicole Kauffman December 13, 2016 at 9:40 am

    It is so important to check our hearts and to be sure we are focused on God first and foremost, especially as we study His word. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

    Reply
  • Lisa Appelo December 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Brooke,

    Those are 2 great questions and so freeing to dig down and let God teach you. Methods have a purpose and help me keep digging for more, but to see Who God is as I study the Bible and how He deals with man and me is huge. Praying God meets you in a huge way in your new freedom! haha…but I’m definitely a Type B girl (who so appreciates the traits God’s given to the Type-A’s!).

    Reply
    • Brooke Grangard December 13, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks, Lisa! I love how God guides us in our types! 🙂

      Reply
  • Aimee Imbeau December 16, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Thanks for this great post, Brooke! God doesn’t want anything to get between Him and His children, including Bible studies if our hearts aren’t in it. There are so many great ways to study that there is something for every personality type…and even more for when we need to change things up. I particularly enjoy the Bible studies from Doorposts. I wonder if one of the keys to studying God’s word in the way He intended, is praying and asking the Holy Spirit to teach us what He wants us to learn and understand before we begin our study.

    Brooke, I have chosen to feature your post in this week’s Grace and Truth link-up! Thanks for sharing. Be sure to pop by my site tomorrow and get your “I was featured” button!

    Reply
  • Sarah @ Bows & Clothes December 17, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    You are so right! I agree completely! Sometimes, if we’re not careful, reading the Bible can become a duty and not a blessing especially when studying.

    Thank you so much for linking up at Grace + Lace!

    Sarah
    Bows & Clothes

    Reply

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