Is there a difference between Bible reading and Bible study?
I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t Bible study the same as Bible reading?
No, not even close. I’ve read a number of books by many different authors, but I only really ever studied school books.
“Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.” - Charles Spurgeon
“Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations because we lack equilibrium between light and darkness.” -Helen Keller
“The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid.” -Martin Luther
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (CSB)
This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. - Joshua 1:8 (CSB)
The difference in studying a book and merely reading it lies in committing it to memory. When we read, it usually denotes doing an action for entertainment or enjoyment. Anyone who has tried to start in Genesis and read through the Bible can tell you that Leviticus and Numbers are less than entertaining and few enjoy their contents.
I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. - Psalms 119:11 (CSB)
My son, don't forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands; for they will bring you many days, a full life, and well-being. - Proverbs 3:1-2 (CSB)
"Impress these words of Mine on your hearts and souls, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the heavens are above the earth, your days and those of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your fathers. For if you carefully observe every one of these commands I am giving you to follow-to love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways, and remain faithful to Him- the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will drive out nations greater and stronger than you are. - Deuteronomy 11:18-23 (CSB)
Bible Study is important
People often complain that memorization is difficult or that they don’t understand what they are reading. Can you recite John 3:16? Most of us can thanks to Sunday School classes. If it was important for us to memorize verses when we were young, when did it stop being important?
The truth is that it is still important as an adult to memorize scripture, and I would say that it is even more important as we age. Life issues don’t stop when you become an adult, you simply learn how to cope with those issues. Some of us have learned unhealthy coping mechanisms, and would do well to memorize Biblical life skills.
Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. - Psalms 119:105 (CSB)
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn't need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth. - 2 Timothy 2:15 (CSB)
How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word. - Psalms 119:9 (CSB)
Invite the Holy Spirit to Bible study with you
I cannot stress enough the importance of inviting the Holy Spirit to assist you in understanding and applying what you learn in Bible study to your life.
God’s message is clear, he wants you to read His Word, yes, but also live it out in your life. When you invite the Holy Spirit to your Bible study, you get a wonderful counselor, a wise teacher, and a close friend. No one understands you more than God, no one knows more than God, and not a soul can comfort you like God.
When Philip ran up to it, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you're reading?" - Acts 8:30 (CSB)
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12 (CSB)
Open my eyes so that I may see wonderful things in Your law. - Psalms 119:18 (CSB)
Learn who Jesus is through Bible study
The first four books of the New Testament recount the life of Jesus while he was on Earth. The rest of the New Testament are accounts of new believers encouraging, disciplining, and recounting the teachings of Jesus. The whole of the Old Testament points to the coming of Jesus as the messiah, savior of God's people.
If you want to know Jesus, Bible study is the best way. The whole book, all 66 books, every chapter and verse is a reflection of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is God's love song to humanity, sacrificing his only son, his perfect son for our benefit.
Be inspired to do Bible study
I want to encourage you to do Bible study and to do it with the Holy Spirit. You will find it easier and more enjoyable when you are prepared and guided by the one who inspired its writing.
Do you invite the Holy Spirit to Bible study with you? Leave a comment below and let me know!