STUDYING THE BIBLE FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS

I’m really bothered by people who focus only on the negative side of their faith. There are some that are SO engrossed in the rules, keeping the rules and on others keeping their rules that they miss what the gospel is really all about. For example, a bulletin article from a church I won’t name, rolled across my desk last week. The title of the article was, “5 Reasons We Should Study the Bible.” Here were their five reasons to study the bible…

  • So we can increase our knowledge to fight against false teaching.
  • So we can stand against false doctrine.
  • So we can tell our lost friends the truth about the bible that they don’t want to hear.
  • So we can defend the truth against new teachings.
  • So we can be uncompromising in our fight against unscriptural teaching.
WHAT? I’m really confused on this. I don’t know about you, but I think somewhere the writer missed the most important things like …
  • Study to learn God’s will for your life.
  • Study to learn how to be more like Christ.
  • Study to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior.
  • Study to learn about what Jesus did for you.
  • Study to learn about forgiveness, salvation and love.
  • Study to learn to share the gospel with others.
  • Study to learn to show kindness, mercy and grace to others.
  • And on and on…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for taking a stand when needed, but if those first 5 points are the only reason you’re studying your bible, you’re missing what the bible is all about. The gospel is NOT about rules, it’s about relationship. It’s not a plan for debating those you don’t agree with, but a plan for salvation. It’s not a lesson on how to do the smack-down on your unscriptural friends, but it’s a lesson in God’s love being so great that He’d let his Son die for us. THAT is what the bible is all about.
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Jesus told the Pharisees in John 5:39, “You’ve got your heads in the scripture (the bible) thinking you’ll find eternal life there, but you miss it … it’s right in front of you (Jesus).” All the Pharisees did was spend time in the scripture trying to make sure they and others were right about stuff. Because they were so concerned with being right they missed Jesus, the very one who was right in front of them.
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Like it or not, I’m going to say it … if your religion is only about those first five points, I don’t want to be a part of your religion. It’s okay to stand for what the bible teaches, but don’t get SO caught up in doing it that you miss the important stuff in the bible… like Jesus.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
28 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Tim Archer says:

    I very much agree. If we only read to see what the Bible says to someone else, we've missed the point. If it's all about winning arguments, we've REALLY missed the point.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  2. Angie says:

    Nice post, Trey. I think this judgment thing some are expecting may be a real disappointment to those who have diligently and fearfully followed the rules and proclaimed them for others. Imagine the shock and awe when they hear God say, "You were a great referee and scorekeeper, yet you could never seem to remember who you are and why you were sent. Better luck next time." 😉

  3. Stoogelover says:

    You just described about half (or more) of the churches of Christ in the deep south! (At least where I grew up and started preaching.) Fortunately, I think those churches are fewer and fewer. I agree with you, though. I was "in the church" for many, many years before I ever really fell in love with Jesus or knew much about who he is.

  4. penitentman says:

    Very timely post. My soul cringed this past Sunday when our 2nd graders were brought up front to receive their first bibles.

    I can't remember anything else that was said to them except for these words as the bibles were handed over…

    "Here are your instructions".

    The bible-as-instruction-book mentality absolutely breaks my heart.

  5. Keith Brenton says:

    I'll just say my "amen" and leave it at that!

  6. TREY MORGAN says:

    Angie – Makes me think of this cartoon:
    Click Here

  7. faughnfamilyof4 says:

    Great post. There are dozens and dozens of reasons for reading and studying God's Word, and they are not all reasons of teaching others or winning a debate (although those ARE reasons).

    Great reminder!

  8. Angie says:

    Do you ever wonder if any of them will be self-appointed bouncers at the big gates? Or maybe they will wander around hopelessly looking for some gates to bounce only to find that they weren't literal gates. Talk about a devastating blow to the ego!

  9. Peter P says:

    Amen

  10. Glenn says:

    Are you sure you're a CofC preacher? (kidding… well sort of…)

    Great post. One of my big weaknesses is remembering to tolerate/love/forgive people who subscribe to those first 5 reasons. It's kinda' hard sometimes.

    I think they really do love Jesus, but they just been sort of brainwashed — by other well-meaning people who also love Jesus in their own, shackled way. And, by not taking the same approach that they've been taught by people they love and respect, maybe they feel as though they're invalidating people they have loved and revered for many years?

  11. Soren says:

    Great stuff Trey! Amen and Amen!

  12. Doug Young says:

    Take it easy on my bulletin articles bro!

  13. Sharla says:

    I love reading the Bible to find out the ways God deals with His people. I love that He is ever-faithful, ever-loving, ever-merciful – yet full of justice. I love that He accomplishes His will through imperfect humans. I love the ways He encourages us, warns us, and teaches us. To study the Bible – His words – is an exciting adventure. I love to share what I discover in its pages.

  14. Gary says:

    People of this mindset do seem to have missed the freedom and love of the gospel. Unfortunately, some of it is, wrong though it is, an overreaction to farely radical change in some Churches of Christ through the years. The church in Glendale, Ca. that my mom was raised in is almost unrecognizable. The church I attended through high school in Duncanville also has adopted choir singing instead of congregational worship.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The main reason for scripture has always been to share how much a Father loves His children and how far He will go to remind them and draw them closer to His heart. Once they understand that, He sends them out to share that same love with others.

  16. Hannah Grace says:

    wow! I could not agree with this post more. We should study the scripture out of a growing desire to come to know our savior better and to fall more in love with him. No one will want to listen to your scriptural arguments, or to you sharing the truth unless it our comes out of a loving and fresh relationship to begin with.

    Your right very backwards motivations..however thanks for the reminder its good for all of us to look at our motivations, they can be so easy to get out of focus!

  17. Bobby Cohoon says:

    Great Trey! I love the list

  18. Dante says:

    In the words of a children's bible song, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…". James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Trey, I don't know about you, but that pretty much says it all to me. The key to a mature Christian is humility, integrity, compassion (for further reference refer to Galatians 5)…the rest of the stuff will work itself out. In the words of Pastor Adrian Peterson, the Bible reads us"…All we have to do is repent and move closer to God. Of Faith, Hope and Love, love is the greatest of those three. Good Post Trey – keep em coming!

  19. Marc T says:

    God's words are his very breath! When we inhale his word, we exhale his praise!

  20. wjcsydney says:

    Amen, Trey! We immerse ourselves in the Word (the Bible) in order to be immersed in the Word (Jesus)

  21. Royce Ogle says:

    Trey,

    I just returned from lunch with a few brothers and we discussed this very subject.

    I have crossed paths with men who can quote more scripture than 3 of me can and yet they will lie and cheat and are as mean as they get, and yet claim that only them and people like them are going to heaven.

  22. Scott says:

    Trey and others,

    This post reminds me of the Church in Ephesus. Paul warned the elders in Acts 20 that some would come from them teaching falsehoods. They were to guard against error. When you read Jesus' message to the Ephesian church in Revelation 2; you notice that He commends them for their stand against false prophets and unhealthy doctrine, but has something against them. They had LEFT THEIR FIRST LOVE. I suggest that this may mean, they left their love for Christ and salvation and were in love with being right and telling others they were wrong.

    Thanks for the post.

  23. Mike says:

    Good thoughts. Though most of Paul, Peter and John's writtings were to combat false teaching that had appeared. We should neve be studying just to prove someone else wrong though.

  24. chrisclouse says:

    I haven't participated in the blog world for quite a while now, as I have spent much time trying to study the Bible afresh. I just wanted you to know, Trey, that I appreciate your words and think you have hit the center of the target on this one. Keep up the good work.

  25. akomageorgeo says:

    Trey it is more in our country,and if you preach this they may tag you anti Christ!!!!please Trey we need you in our country to have a big seminar in one of our stadiums,
    More grease to your elbow,
    come over to Nigeria and help us TREY MORGAN

  26. Dan says:

    I would say your blog just delineated a basic difference that exists in Christendom today (and not just the South!). But, then, to expect something else would be naive. Anyone who's been around the Christian community for any length of time knows that there are those who are so wrapped up in the rules that they miss the people, and others who are so enamored with people that they miss the need for standards of conduct. In this respect, Christians are no different than the rest of humanity – trying to live on half a loaf.

    dan@inthetwinkleofani.com

  27. fraizerbaz says:

    A few churches get caught up in using only ONE version of the Bible, as well.

    I think it's silly to insist on using only the KJ version, and deeming the rest as unusable. (I am a big fan of The Message, btw.)

  28. nick gill says:

    The blessed discipline of study creates room in our lives for God to work on and in our hearts and minds.

    That's why I'm on my Bible Journey, which will launch again tomorrow morning, I hope!

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
  • He was pretty tough to listen to as well.
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