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December 10, 2009

Video of the Week: Eugene Peterson

Is it better to study the Bible, or to read it?

I am currently working on a training download called "How to Prepare a Bible Study," and one of the things I am trying to cover in that resource is how to best approach the Bible when your goal is teaching others.

So when I saw a video on YouTube titled "Eugene Peterson explains the difference between 'studying' and 'reading' the Bible," I thought, Aha! Exactly what I've been looking for. I figured the video would highlight that most people just read the Bible, like any other book, but don't really know how to study it.

Let's see if I was right...

Nope! As in many things, I was completely backwards. Peterson's idea is that people usually approach the Bible as a tool of study—a book they are trying to get something useful out of. He feels that people don't know how to really read the Bible. That we don't know how to get caught up in the story and allow it to work on us from the inside out.

And by golly, I think he's right.

So what does that mean for us? For our small groups?

posted by Sam O'Neal on December 10, 2009 9:39 AM

Related Tags: Bible, Eugene Peterson


I definitely agree with what Peterson says as well. One thing I've noticed a lot in small groups is that many people are willing to sit and dissect a passage or a verse and really study it (which can be a great thing!), but then when we ask an application question related to what we've uncovered in our study of the passage, few people have anything to say. I have started wondering if we have turned reading the Bible into a purely studious act, one that does not need to affect our lives. In fact, it's as if we can hide behind the study of the Bible and never get around to letting the Word of God infiltrate our very beings. And, I've noticed another pattern as well. Those who are able to read a passage and let it impact them from the inside out are sometimes put down because they didn't "study" the passage. Yikes. I wonder if, in our effort to get people to understand the Bible better, we have swung too much in that direction, actually holding knowledge of the Bible higher than life impact from God's Word.

Great thoughts, Amy. I'm afraid we often ignore the Holy Spirit when we approach Scripture, whether for individual study or group. We read to see what we can figure out or what strikes us, but we forget that Christians are blessed with the opportunity to explore the Bible shoulder-to-shoulder with its Author.

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