Read John 5:39
39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” (NLT)
When we say we study the Bible or are going to a Bible study, we believe we are describing a worthwhile and even necessary activity of a follower of Jesus. But we need to be honest about just what sort of study of the Bible we are talking about.
Bible study can be picking through an ancient text looking for support for our existing prejudices. It can be an information-gathering exercise. It can be a dissection of a passage and subjecting it to critical scrutiny according to prevailing literary and critical theories. It can be used to buttress our arguments as we do battle with enemies of the faith.
None of that really constitutes well-rounded Bible study. The opponents of Jesus knew their Scriptures well but didn’t know Jesus. In all their intense wrestling with Scripture they missed the whole point of it. They were ignorant experts.
We rightly shake our heads at such ignorance, but we are not immune. We need to ask ourselves if all the Bible study we do, all the facts we know, make a lot of difference to how we live? Is our expertise in Scripture backed up by experience of Jesus? Do we know a lot about God or do we know God himself?
In our reading of the Word, do we allow that same Word to read us?