Bible Study

As someone who grew up in and is a member of the Churches of Christ I just love bible study. I love gathering a bunch of translations, stacking up some commentaries and consulting a concordance. Sure, a lot of this you can do online now. And I have my laptop open as well. But I'm still old school. I'm addicted to the feel of being buried under a stack of books.

The other day when Jana called me to dinner I was in our bedroom on our bed getting ready for a lesson out at the prison. After eating I came back to finish up and snapped this picture:

If a picture is worth a thousand words then this picture tells you a lot about me and my religious heritage. I love bible study.

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7 thoughts on “Bible Study”

  1. I totally get it! Maybe one thing was lacking...W.E. Vines Expository Dictionary of NT Words. ;o)

  2. I can relate. Even when I'm typing on my computer and needing correct spelling or definition, I sometimes like to reach over to the shelf and pull down my old Webster Dictionary. And I still have a Strong's Concordance for the King James Version that I use often. I love my Bibles. I have, and still use my KJV, mainly for the psalms; my favorite, the NRSV; the Catholic New American Bible, which is an elegant reading translation; and the others in between.

    I love books. But what I find funny is if I say this to some people at my job they look at me like I'm boasting; but they wouldn't think so if I said I love golf.

  3. I also love studying the Bible. My desk (bed) has often looked just like the one in your photo! It's a blessing and a privilege to have such resources. I rely heavily on the scholarship of others, since I don't read Greek, only a few words of Hebrew, and never formally studied the history and culture of Biblical times. I have the Bible (NRSV) on my kindle, but it is so clumsy I almost can't stand it. I still prefer turning the actual pages of The Book.

    But I can't get too many others at my church interested in Bible study, probably because of that issue of exhaustion you wrote about, a few posts ago. I find that Bible study in a group is a thousand times more helpful and fun than studying alone, because everyone contributes from their own viewpoint. It's more likely that the layers of meaning are revealed, when I study with others.

    Best of all is exactly what your picture shows - private study and preparation beforehand, and then group study.

  4. I like this, in and of itself, and how you situate bible study within your religious heritage.

    As I try and figure out my relationship to the bible, or even just "a relationship" to it, and try to overcome negative associations it gained for me from the time I spent in an evangelic environment, I find your joy in bible study encouraging. I also echo Nimblewill's comment. I too benefit from your study. What I've been reading here as well as in anti-Empire and other writings is helping me to form a new view. This is welcome.

    As for what would tell a lot about me and my religious heritage: it would be hymns. Orthodox hymns to be precise, but not because I grew up Orthodox or am currently Orthodox. Instead, the hymns carry only the warmest and best of my earliest childhood. As I thought about them more today though, I realized what a vital role they played for me during college and during a difficult time of transition a few years ago.

    I also considered the fact that I listen to them to this day. In fact, I downloaded a few last night. Then I read your post this morning. I realized that I too had a heritage. What's more, for the first time in a long time, I considered the idea that there may be a God out there who loves what those hymns have done for me as much as I do. This view too is new. I appreciate your post and all the good it brought to mind for me.

  5. That is the best way to do it. And it is a joy. Often in our fellowship, ministers and teachers exhort everyone to be dedicated Bible readers. Not that that is a bad thing but there is no way that one can just sit down and read through it, especially the psalms, prophets and apocalyptic sections, and comprehend but the tiniest level of what is going on. When I read the Bible, I'm reading it with a composite of my ministers and teachers and culture sitting on my shoulder giving perspective. This despite myself. And when I don't it is sometimes because I'm running away from them in opposition. The only way to get out of that cycle is careful, assiduous study and exposure to a wide range of views and meditations of scholars and thinkers, religious and secular, from ancient to postmodern times.

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