Read 2 Corinthians 3:6
6 The letter of the Law leads to the death of the soul; the spirit of God alone can give life to the soul. (JBP)
We must never forget that Jesus was hounded to death by men who knew the Scriptures back to front, who were experts in the sacred texts that spoke of a Messiah. A sobering reminder to us that mere knowledge of the Bible may not be much help to us and may even be a snare to us.
Not only can we be guilty of analysing the text in such a way as to distort its meaning to suit our prejudices, but we can fail to let the Scriptures speak to us so as to shape and reshape our lives. It is very possible to be a student of the Scriptures and yet have no commitment to Jesus. Words on a printed page do not themselves lead to faith.
The Bible is to be read regularly and not just dipped into when we are in trouble. We might apply the wrong text to our situation. It is to be read thoughtfully with due regard to the type of literature it is rather than assuming it is all to be taken literally. It is to be read humbly, allowing our perspectives to be challenged and increasing our love for dependence on our living God.
Above all, we don’t separate the printed words from the life-giving Spirit of God who speaks through those words. If we fail to let the Spirit so speak, in the words of Eugene Peterson, printer’s ink becomes embalming fluid.