Bible study is such a joy! Imagine, we can read, understand, apply, and teach what God has given us in his written Word. What an awesome privilege! What an engaging opportunity! What a compelling responsibility! During December 2013, two encounters with writers of influence reminded me that good Bible study is still at risk. We all can be vigilant, and be especially wary of those who bring their scissors to Bible study – intent on cutting everything away but their own preconceived, powerless, paper-doll "Jesus."
To be clear, we all have many useful "tools" that can help us learn, understand, and apply what the Lord desires to teach us in his written Word. For example, various translations can help us appreciate multiple aspects of a Bible text. As importantly, it helps tremendously to know other passages of the Bible – and especially other Bible texts written by the same human author – in order to compare and even confirm what we comprehend in the text we are studying. Good reference Bibles help us in that direction.