I love to study the Bible, but recently my Bible study led me to a surprising conclusion: We should quit telling people to study the Bible, and start telling them to meditate on the Bible and delight in it.
This is what happened. I was teaching a class on how to study the Bible and in preparation I decided to look at what the Bible itself has to say about Bible study. I was jarred by what I discovered. The Bible says almost nothing about studying the Bible! Very often we are told in the scripture to obey and meditate on the Bible, and there are many passages that tell us to remember and not forget God’s word and God’s acts. But study the Bible? It’s almost never mentioned in all of scripture.
Teach Them to Meditate on the Bible
Perhaps like me, you immediately think of the passage, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God….” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV) But this is a poor translation of the original Greek. All modern translations render this better, as the New King James version does, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God….”
The key emphasis in the Bible itself on how we are to relate to it is not to study it, but to meditate on it, delight in it, ponder it, obey it, and not forget it. If you don’t believe me, do a quick word search on the words “study,” “delight,” “meditate,” and “obey.” You will be shocked, as I was.
In other words, the problem isn’t that we are stupid. The problem is that we are forgetful. Or to put it another way, the issue isn’t that we need to learn more Bible, the problem is that a lot of us know quite a bit of the Bible. But we don’t enjoy it and let it soak in, so we forget it or don’t apply it. So we often miss the abundant life that it is calling us to.