Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Breaking Up With Bible Studies

Several years ago, I had a conversation with one of my dear pastors from Indiana about a new study bible that had recently been published. I asked him what he thought of it, if he owned it, did he like it.

I'll never forget his response.

He said "I try to be really careful when reading from a study bible. You have God's word at the top of the page, and then man's word at the bottom. Who do I need to listen to? God's word or man's word?"

I've been having this same line of thought with bible studies in recent months.

I started to take a good hard look at what the publishing industry is selling. Make no mistake. Even though they are a "christian" publisher, they are still in the business of selling a product for profit.

So what sells?

Pretty sells. Popular sells. Buzz sells. Hype and Movement sells. Agenda sells.

And this is what seems to pop up in my Inbox on a daily basis. The next great personality! The next trend! Hurry! Your church must do this, too, if you want to be like the popular kids!

Ask yourself this question: when was the last time you saw a bible study from a wise, grey haired sixty-five plus year old woman being marketed to the next generation?

Increasingly, we are in a church culture that looks a lot like the secular culture. We segregate into small groups that make us comfortable without challenging us. I'll just stick with the person I can relate to who looks like me and is in my same socio-economic age bracket. If I have a question that needs answering, I'll find it on Pinterest.

Sadly, we are all in desperate need of mentors, and we don't even recognize it.

I understand that there is great power in studying the word with fellow believers. But I also know that there is often a time when you just need to pair down to what really matters.

You, God's Word, a book, and a journal.

No gimmicks. No Facebook groups to join in on the movement. No hashtags and Instagrams and tweets to follow.

Just you and God time.

I'm reading a study that was first published 30 years ago, and it feels as fresh and relevant as if it was published today. That's the thing about truth. It's timeless.

No hype. Just a holy moment carved into my day.


  1. My sister and I bought a Bible study to do together, but when I started it I realized we were missing something: the videos that go along with it. I went online only to discover that they are $6 each (and there are 7 lessons). I think I do not want to spend $42 to complete a Bible study. I do believe that there is enough in the book to make it worth our time to work through but I was disappointed. I agree that many of the Bible studies are designed for marketing purposes more than actual Bible study, which is a shame.

    I like good solid books! I haven't read the one you pictured, I'll have to look into that one!

  2. You are so right - truth is timeless! I love your post - you are spot on!