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Serious Bible Study!

Quran Burning and Bad Bible Study

It really should not have been a news story.  A preacher (very loosely used) of 50 people in Florida becomes national news.  With so many churches doing great works that could be highlighted it is truly a shame. But that is not the subject of this post. The subject of this post is the misuse of Scripture by some to justify the practice.  I highlight this reason because it shows the need for careful reading of the Bible.

Let’s be honest.  There are few regular Bible readers.  Let’s be more honest many people who are regular Bible readers are not careful readers.  We have been taught in Bible study to simply read until something inspires us and be done.  This sounds great and even spiritual, but is this really doing justice to the word of God.  Is the word of God really  just there for us to read, find something thought provoking, and move on.  I say no!

If we believe the Bible is God’s word.  That it is the message of God to His people then it deserves more respect than that.  It deserves our careful attention, our meditation, and a close reading.  It deserves us putting our best efforts into understanding this communication.  This is the main reason I started this website.  I think we need to return to careful Bible Study. We need to be diligent enough to dedicate ourselves to His word.

This seriousness means practicing intentionally good Bible study habits.  It means investigating books of the Bible not isolated verses.  It means allowing God’s Word to lead wherever it may take us and not to force ourselves upon the text.  It means that when we do topical studies that we are honest with what the Scriptures say on the subject and that we do not rip texts from their appropriate contexts.

Let me be blunt: bad Bible Study makes me sick.  I want to help people be better students of God’s Word.  Not so they can improve their knowledge base, but so people can have a true relationship with God.  I want people to be convinced there is a God, His word is true, and that His Son was raised.  This is why I write apologetics.  I want people to better understand every book of the Bible in its context.  This is why we do a book by book study.  I want people to know what the Scriptures teach on important subjects.  This is why I do topical studies.  I want people to develop a deeper, committed relationship with God.  This is why we include devotionals.  I want people to feel free to ask Christians and interact.  This is why I love comments.

Now back to the verse out of context.  Many use Acts 19:19 to justify the book burning practice.  A quick reading might lead someone to believe that this is an example of Christians burning idolatrous books.  But is it really saying Christians should be burning others religious books?  Notice what is happening here.  Those who practiced sorcery are burning their own books. This is a mark of their true conversion and repentance.  If this church (loosely use) in Gainesville was made up of a group of Muslims who recently converted and decided that as an act of repentance and conversion they needed to burn the books, then maybe it would be similar to the Acts 19 account.  However, for a group of people who are not Muslim converts to burn the Quran for the purpose of publicity is well beyond what this Scripture is teaching.  Maybe some good Bible study would have stopped this whole incident.

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9 Comments

  1. I definitely agree. We can basically do anything we want through proof-texting. It’s our job to look at what the Bible REALLY says. In many cases, what the Bible says is going to be in direct contradiction of societal norms, and it’s our job to commit to what the Bible says, not what makes us comfortable. We should be weighing everything by our study of the Bible, not the other way around.

  2. Wesley

    September 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Amen. True Bible study is one of the most challenging adventures a human being can undertake. We must untame God’s word and allow it to change us. Sadly, few people are up to the challenge

  3. Good Bible study would also reveal that those in Acts 19:19 were burning THEIR OWN magic books as a fruit of true repentance. It was not a protest against others practicing magic. Also, Paul brought forth a principle which applies both the the doofus in Florida and the mosque in NY. 1st Cor. 10:23 “All things are lawful, but not all things build up.”

  4. Wesley

    September 10, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I agree! That was my last paragraph. Acts 19:19 is about individual conversion, not a publicity stunt.

    And I think you hit it on the head. As Americans we have rights, but it does not mean that we as Christians need to use them.

  5. Yes indeed. I have heard it said, “As Christians we do not have the right to say all we have the right to say as individuals living in any nation.” We are “… a holy nation, His own special people, that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness…” (1 Peter 2:9). Thanks Wesley, a “good bible study” should indeed give all seeking God a cause for reflection (our own life included). Who we are is as important to God as who we claim to represent.

  6. Wesley

    September 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks for your kind words Kevin and for sharing your thoughts with us all.

  7. ***There are two ways to read the Bible: for selfish reasons and for unselfish reasons. Most professing Christians do only the former way. I do all I can to encourage others to do the latter way for making good changes in their ways of thinking and doing. God’s truths and ways are wonderful and result in wonderful feelings of divine peace and divine joy. During a sermon on Romans 5:1-5, eight ways of relating to the Bible came to my mind. So the ways one should relate to the Bible are 1.) Read, 2.) Study, 3.) Meditate, 4.) Memorize, 5.) Discuss it, 6.) Counsel with it, 7.) Prepare a Bible study tool or teach it. Frequently living it should be done everyday by Christians, but at least one of the others should be done too, preferable several.

  8. Wesley

    September 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks for all the comments Bill. I think we need to learn to let the Bible speak. Well said.

  9. Just to satisfy my curiosity, for those of you who left messages here, what are your reasons for disliking what the preacher did?

    A) Because he is a Christian Preacher
    B) Because we shouldn’t burn books
    C) Because of the negative way ALL christians are lumped in with him
    D) Because of the damage Muslims have done to innocent people because of the burning
    E) What if he were not christian at all, just some Joe Schmoe

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