I have recently posted a series of videos on common Bible study mistakes. We have probably all made some, or all, of these mistakes. Please take a look and see if these are helpful to you, or to anyone else you know.
Mistake 1: Proof-Texting – It is just so convenient to find a line of text that says what we want to say. But the danger is that we will not see the richness of the text as it was intended to be understood. It seems obvious once you say it, but it is good to remember that what God made it say is always better than what we can make it say! Click here for this video.
Mistake 2: Collapsing Correlations – When you are reading and you see something that reminds you of something else . . . perhaps a saying of Jesus, or a different epistle, and then you collapse both passages in together, then you are collapsing your correlations together. Easily done, but what if that other passage doesn’t mean the same thing? Click here for the video.
Mistake 3: Ignoring Background – Sometimes it is just easier to read the passage and ignore whatever background may be relevant to your study. Who has the time to think about distant geography, ancient customs, and foreign politics? Well, if we want to understand the Bible, we need to make sure we don’t ignore the background. Click here for this video.
Mistake 4: Genre Override – Apart from sounding like a cool concept, what is genre override? It is when you take some of the rules of interpreting a genre and let those rules run roughshod over your interpretation of the passage. “Since this passage is apocalyptic literature…” is the start of many misleading sentences! Of course, we need to be sensitive to the genre, but that is always a support to our being sensitive to the passage. Click here to find out more.
Mistake 5: Imposing Meaning – Our goal in Bible study is exegesis, that is, drawing out the meaning of the text as intended by the author. But when we impose meaning, we are doing eisegesis. That is, reading into the text what we want to see there. God’s Word is better than yours, or mine! Click here for more.
Mistake 6: Isolationist Confidence – Bible study is something we may do on our own a lot of the time. But we must be wary of isolationist confidence. When it is just me and the Bible, I can easily become overconfident in my own opinion. I may be on the right track, but very superficial. Or I might be wandering off into new (therefore heretical) theological territory. We need to think about the role of the community in our Bible study! Click here for this video.
Mistake 7: Tone-Deaf Reading – The Bible is not just a data store that we are to mine for theological truths or applicational points. It is interpersonal communication and so we need to make sure we are sensitive to the writer’s tone as we seek to make sense of what is written. Here is the link to this video.
I will probably add a few more, in due course. As ever with these things, if you are able to like, share, comment or subscribe to the YouTube channel, it is all helpful in encouraging the algorithm to share this content. Thanks!
Here is the playlist that contains these videos, plus others that are all related!