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3 Bible Study Mistakes You’re Probably Making + How to Correct Them

Studying the Bible is discipline I am very passionate about. I LOVE piecing it all together, admiring the big picture, and eventually understanding how even the tiny pieces are essential to the puzzle’s immaculate outcome. Call me a geek, label me a Jesus freak. I’m ok with that. It doesn’t change anything.  😛 

And it’s not just the puzzle pieces that I enjoy. It’s the discovery of it all. Through the Bible, we get a glimpse of God, who He is, and His love for us. We learn about our identity in Christ and our purpose in Him. So much of who we are is wrapped up in who God is. And much of what we know of God is found in the pages of the Bible.

It’s not just a knowledge thing, it’s a relationship thing. Reading the Bible is ESSENTIAL to growing in our relationship with Christ. But here’s the thing about relationships. When you base your knowledge of someone off of faulty information chances are your relationship with that person isn’t going to flourish. Why? Because you don’t know who it is that you’re connecting to.

This is where a lot of Christians, especially new believers, stumble. They’ve heard about God. They’ve heard all the sermons on Sunday radio (or maybe in church). Their friends are Christians and the topic occasionally comes up in conversation. They may have a verse or two underlined in their Bible or hanging on their refrigerator. But have they taken the time to get to know God themselves?

Avoiding these Bible Study mistakes can help you understand the heart and character of the God who loves you in a way that no other person or tool could ever match. @mrslotanner

Bible Study Mistakes You Want to Avoid + How To Correct Them!

It’s a whole new relationship once you’ve moved past second-hand knowledge and move into a personal conversation. The things you learn! So many of my personal conversations with God stemmed from Bible reading. It’s an exciting book that raises a lot of wonder and curiosity. I want you to get to know this God that you’re curious about! He is the real deal.

Avoiding these three Bible study mistakes can help you understand the heart and character of the God who loves in a way that no other person or tool can. 

Mistake #1 | Filtering the Word through your own logic, instead of considering its original language, historical context, and biblical alignment.

First, let’s talk about the language barrier. One thing we need to understand about the Bible is that it was written by certain bodies of people; people who didn’t speak English and didn’t grow up in American Culture. The Bibles that we read today are not in their original written language. They’ve been translated. And so much can be lost in translation. It can be the difference between football to the English and football to the Americans.

For that reason when you’re studying the Bible and you’re curious about the meaning of a word or it’s context your best bet is to pull out a concordance and look up the word in its original language. If you’re reading the Old Testament you’ll find the Hebrew meaning of the word. If you’re reading the New Testament you’ll want to find the Greek meaning of the word. This practice will help you keep the Bible in context and eliminate a lot of the confusion that comes from living in a new age, new culture, and a new language.

You May Also Like: 10 Questions to Help Strengthen Your Bible Study

10 questions to strengthen your bible study. @mrslotannar

Speaking of culture shifts, this is one of those innocent mistakes that a lot of us don’t even realize we’re. We read through a passage of scripture and try to force it to fit into present-day America. But we have to remember that in the times between now and when the Bible was originally recorded, there have been some major culture shifts! Major! Because of that, many practices that were the cultural norm then (not mandated by God but by culture) aren’t common practice now. Many times when these instances come up I find God demonstrating His character in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend otherwise simply because of the cultural differences. In instances like this, the instruction itself may not be directly applicable to your situation, but the principle or the takeaway could be.

Not considering things like culture can cause us to make the mistake of taking scripture out of context. On that same note, we also need to remember many of its books were written to specific peoples, for a specific purpose, with a specific message/ There is a backstory that shapes each book of the Bible. When you remove the context, the back story, the information surrounding the portion of scripture you’re studying, you risk removing the intent of the message and gaining from it the insight that God intended to give you.

Mistake #2 | Using devotionals and Bible Studies in place of the Bible

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a solid devotional. In fact, I’ve even written one. The problem comes when we start relying on pastors, teachers, and authors and their teachings to pull us closer to Jesus INSTEAD OF taking the time to establish our own relationship with Him through His Word.

There isn’t a book out there that can replace the absolute necessity of God’s written word; nor the depth and richness of it. Without the foundation of the Bible, none of these other sources can even stand. They are incomplete; at best. Can they help you gain knowledge and understanding? Can they be valuable tools? Of course! I will never forget how Priscilla Shirer’s study Armor of God brough that portion of scripture alive for me. But God has so much more for us than what any one author can deliver.

If you’re heart is to know God, study His Word (the Bible). If you have questions, are looking for additional context, have an area you want to grow in, or find that you’re really struggling with certain topics and the impact they have on your life THEN is the perfect to pick up a devotional or Bible study book.

Devotionals & Bible Studies I Recommend for New Christians:

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our MindsWomen of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our MindsWomen of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our MindsFervent: A Woman's Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic PrayerFervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic PrayerFervent: A Woman's Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic PrayerThe Armor of GodThe Armor of GodThe Armor of God

Mistake #3 | Reading to read and not to apply.

It’s really easy to get lost in the world of legalism when it comes to studying the Bible. We know we’re supposed to do it. We hear it from our Pastors, parents, and teachers. Heck, you just heard it from me. It’s like a tug of war goes on in our spirit. We know we should be in the Word so for the sake of doing what we know, we should we open it up, read a few chapters, put it back on the nightstand, and go on with our day. Only to repeat this same monotone routine day after day after day – without ever taking the time to meditate on what we’ve read or more importantly, put it to practice.
The Bible is a book God intended us to act on. It is “living and active” (see Hebrews 4) which means when we apply the truths and principles of the Bible into our lives; things change. We change, our perspective changes, our heart, and ambitions change.

Through prayer, faith, and application God molds us into men and women who light up the world for His glory. If we neglect the application piece of the equation we miss out on becoming the women God intended us to be. We don’t experience His redemption in full.

This may not necessarily affect our salvation Heaven side, but it very much affects our salvation earthside. The Bible equips us to handle the storms and challenges in life by nurturing our faith, leading us in wisdom, correcting our footing, and encouraging our souls. If we aren’t studying the Bible and applying it to our lives when the waves hit, we’ll be everything but prepared.

Simple & Sweet: A Bible Study Guide For Women @mrslotanner

Get TONS of Bible Study tips, methods, and original resources in my ebook Simple & Sweet: Practical Bible Study TIps for Women!

These are just a few of the reasons why studying your Bible is so important and why you want to take the time to do it right. Avoiding these mistakes and putting these tips to practice will help ensure the foundation that you’re building off of is a solid one.

Let’s Build Together!

It’s always been my mission to create a space where I could encourage women of faith by sharing tips like these. If you found this helpful you’ll love what we have to offer in our Facebook Group.  Weekly #biblenotes, free Bible Study resources, monthly LIVE events, prayer, friendship, and community; all at your fingertips. Come visit us and stay a while.

Christian Living & Marriage community @mrslotanner

8 thoughts on “3 Bible Study Mistakes You’re Probably Making + How to Avoid Them”

  1. This is a beautiful, comprehensive, and balanced view of scripture – I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and found it so encouraging as I mentally tick off and put question marks beside my present bible reading routine. As I find my way back into regular scripture reading I’m going to bookmark this page as a litmus test for if I’m going offtrack again.

  2. Hey, Lo! I feel like you and I need to be BFFs now, because – GIRL – you are singing my song! I call myself a Bible history, theology geek, Jesus Freak. Coming from an adult convert to biblical/historical Christianity after leaving Mormonism in my teens, I see so many Christians who think for some reason the Bible fell out of the sky, or God downloaded it into people’s brains.

    He inspired human beings who had a linguistic, culteral, philosophical and literary context that generally is so different from our own Western context. You and your readers might be interested in a challenge I’m hosting where we will be covering some of this very topic (as well as historicity of the texts, textual transmission, and reliability of the texts). How do we know know we can trust the Gospels?

    Come join us. It’s free and is going to be a blast!

    And I’m tweeting your post. This makes my heart happy!

    1. Carrie! Thanks for sharing about the challenge! I know so of my readers will be all about this! It sounds like everyone is going to learn a lot!

  3. Perfect timing LO. I am in a dry season and was just realizing this morning that I’ve been in a bible study – one after another – for months. I need some face time in the word alone.

    1. It’s funny you should say that. I am at home today with a sick kiddo instead of at Bible study, and I was reading over the material by myself. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my ladies group. But it was also REALLY nice to just sit alone with God for a while. There is definitely value in meeting and studying in groups. But that one on one time is precious too.

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