Selfish Bible Study

I’m pretty sure there’s a law somewhere that requires all married Christian men to say they married way out of their league. Nearly every Christian man I’ve talked to has made some sort of comment about how he married up. So it might not sound like much when I say my wife is way cooler than I am, and that she has quite a bit more spiritual insight than I do. But it’s all true. She’s the real deal.

All that to say this: the whole idea for this blog came from my wife. All positive comments I receive will be forwarded her way.

I can’t remember what we were talking that brought the statement out of her, but at one point she suggested to me that maybe a lot of people approach their time reading the Bible a little selfishly. She said our big focus when we read is often on “getting something” out of what we read and on finding ways to apply the things we read to our lives. This doesn’t sound like a horrible thing to do, but she said that all too often, we forget to simply read to try to learn what God is actually like.

This little statement has changed the way I approach the Bible. Even if we are reading the Bible to get something out of it or to find a practical life application, aren’t we ultimately doing these things to please God? And what better way to please God than to know what he’s like?

If the only thing I ever listen to from my wife are things that I can apply in my everyday life – unload the dishwasher, let’s do something this weekend, can you cook dinner tonight? – I suppose I’ll do an okay job of making her happy. But if I listen to things that describe who she is – I love piano-driven music, cats and blankets make me happy, I’m not really that interested in your comic books – then I can start getting creative with the things I do to make her happy. Besides, it would be selfish of me to only tune in to my wife when she’s telling me things that directly apply to me.

Maybe it’s a stretch to carry that logic over to my Bible-reading habits, but I do feel like it might also be a little selfish of me to only pay attention to passages that tell me not to steal or to obey the governing authorities. God gave me all the words in the Bible, not just the ones with practical, everyday applications.

When we try to force every single word in the Bible to have a practical application to our daily lives, we can develop a very dangerous form of Biblical tunnel vision. We read passages and stretch and do semantic gymnastics to come up with interpretations of things that we need to do and we end up completely missing the point of the verse. If we can widen that vision just a little bit, I think we’ll find our time spent in the Bible will become much more productive and helpful.

Question of the Week
Have you ever stretched a verse to try and come up with a practical application?

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One thought on “Selfish Bible Study

  1. Hi,Iam Fanni Margareta from Indonesia. I was so blessing with ur blog. The way u write down, ur explanation and ur critical are so wonderful. THat really touch and make me know how to read the bible without selfish.
    Gbu and ur family. Greet for ur wife too, she seems wonderful

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