The Bible Study leader reads a verse, and perhaps quotes a commentary before sharing how she thinks it spoke to her. Then she opens the floor to solicit thoughts from the other ladies in the room. Everyone has valid insights, she assures the group; there are no wrong answers.
Okay, usually it happens a little more subtly than my description. But many Bible Study groups do encourage subjective approaches to Scripture. All too often, women receive support for drawing personalized messages from their Bible study time.
Certainly, as we’re in Gods Word, the Holy Spirit frequently uses it to address specific situations in our lives. In fact, we ought to search the Scriptures when we need God’s wisdom. Are you considering marriage? Then search God’s Word to see if that guy you’re dating has a godly character. Torn between job offers? Check for circumstances that could tempt you to compromise God’s standards. The Word can reveal attitudes in us that need correcting. See Hebrews 4:12.
But more and more, we’ve developed the idea that the Bible is about us. Piggy backing on that misguided notion, we then presume to interpret it subjectively, regarding it as God’s personal word to us.
We’ve lost the perspective that the Bible is only secondarily about us. Primarily, the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself. In its pages, He shows us all the various aspects of Who He is, what He thinks and how He wants us to worship Him. He never asks for our opinions, nor does He allow for our subjective interpretations.
Rather, the Lord expects us to study His Word in a manner that honors Him.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. ~~ 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)
Of course, none of us understands God’s Word perfectly. As sinners, our flesh corrupts the way we think, so that we make mistakes or see things in a distorted manner. But that’s all the more reason to avoid reducing God’s Holy word to our meager opinions.
We must stop using Bible Study groups as forums for expressing personal views of what we “get” from a verse of Scripture. It’s so much better to seek out what He is saying.
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