Two opposite errors exist in approaching the Bible. One is not to read it. The other is to know it so well that you miss Jesus. Jesus pointed out this error: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).
Are you surprised to believe this error exists? We constantly talk about reading and studying the Bible as an unqualified good. But clearly, the way we read the Bible is just as important as reading it.
So how can you know if you might be reading the Bible, looking for life, but missing Jesus completely? Here are a few clues:
- You read the Bible to reinforce what you believe, not challenge what you believe.
- You imagine yourself as the type of person who believes the things you read about.
- You think the things you read are especially applicable for people you know, but not for you.
- You imagine yourself as the hero of the story, not the person or people who are unbelieving. You frequently ask in your heart, “How could these people be so unbelieving?” For instance, when you read the story of the Israelites wandering in the desert you might say, “How could those Israelites grumble about food and drink when they just saw God part the Red Sea?” But you are completely blind to how you grumble at work or home when you’re afraid of losing something.
- You love the attention garnered from your knowledge of the Bible, but give little thought to how you have applied what you have read.
Maybe the Bible should come with a warning label: “Beware: reading this book incorrectly will make you twice as fit for hell as when you began.”
Don’t miss Jesus. Go to him and find life.
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