Can You Ever Have Too Much Bible Study?

A friend once suggested to me that some of the discipleship methods we had been taught in college and seminary were creating Christians who were "100 verses overweight". It's a funny mental picture, but it's also probably a sad reality. I am sometimes afraid that we have churches full of people who know the Bible from cover to cover but have no idea how to live it out.

Small Groups should be the lab where people figure out how to live the things they are learning. A Sunday (or Saturday) sermon which feeds your mind is great, but what you do with it is most important. Hopefully, your small group is helping you to digest the teaching, and then invest it in your daily living.

The other day I came across this blog post about a group who couldn't invest in their neighbors or community because they were too busy with nightly Bible studies. Studying the Bible is great, but at some point, you have to put it into practice. I've summarized some of the content below, but you can read the whole thing at Holiday At The Sea.

I overheard a conversation the other day that set me to thinking quite a bit. There was a couple who was trying to schedule an important event that would equip them to serve “the least of these.” Except they were having lots of trouble finding a night that would work for them because, as they said: “We have a different Bible study every night of the week.”

If left to myself, I tend towards an intellectual life. I could easily study theology all-day every day. But, I’ve come to be convinced that I already know a lot of Bible that I don’t live.

I can’t help but think of Jesus saying in John 14:15 : “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” and James powerfully reminding us that “pure and undefiled” religion is to care for widows and orphans (James 1:27 ). In fact, James takes it a (few) step(s) further and says that if we hear God’s Word but don’t do it, our profession of faith is worthless (James 1:19-26 ).

Somehow, we’ve created a culture where our “devotion to God” can actually prevent us from serving God. This is an odd predicament because I deeply want people to know what God’s Word says. But I also want people, including myself, to have an environment, a culture, where God’s Word is not just theoretical but lived out.

Heaven forbid the study of God’s Word prevent us from living out God’s Word.


Mike Mack said…
Love it, David! Made me think of Paul saying that knowledge puff up but love builds up (1 Cor. 8:1) or James saying Don't just listen to thew Word and so deceive yourselves; DO what it says" (Jas. 1:22). I feel sometimes like this is one of my biggest jobs as a small groups minister: to get our groups loving and doing, not just knowing and listening.