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The Ridiculous Emphasis Christians Place on Bible Study

Bible study

From the Editor: Our intent in publishing this article, which some readers may find challenging or perhaps even antagonistic, is to generate discussion around a relevant topic to church leaders. We at ChurchLeaders believe in the inerrancy and authority of Scripture as the inspired word of God. In fulfilling our purpose of helping church leaders lead better every day, we found this article to be helpful in addressing a topic that perhaps we haven’t adequately considered inside the walls of our churches. The article raises this question: In our western, modern churches, has our emphasis on Bible study become excessive to the point of causing us to neglect the practical application of its instruction? Whether you agree with the point Brian is trying to make or not, I hope you will join the conversation in a way that brings something helpful to the discussion.

Most Christians assume that immediately after Jesus died, rose from the dead and went back to heaven, that a leather-bound copy of the Bible descended from the sky.

Complete with the 27 finalized books of the New Testament and Jesus’ words etched in red, this Bible was delivered to the church and has been studied in perpetuity by Christians around the world.

The reality is we didn’t have the New Testament in its complete form until 367 A.D., when Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria listed all 27 books of the New Testament for the first time.

That’s three centuries.

334 years to be exact.

Comparatively, that’s like Jesus showing up in the Jamestown colony when it had only 75 people in it, teaching, dying, raising from the dead, and then the Bible coming together in its final form this Thursday right before we head out to Applebee’s for lunch.

It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to be a Christian without a Bible:

  • 100 years after Jesus left it appears that some churches had copies of the collected letters of Paul and a gospel or two, but that’s it.
  • Many had collections with books of debated authenticity that were later ferreted out.
  • No-one had a final New Testament like we have today.
  • Whatever copies existed remained in the possession of the local church leadership.
  • No-one, it appears, owned their own copy of the Bible for personal “Bible study” unless they were wealthy enough to pay the substantial cost to have it transcribed (see Luke 1:3-4).