Elsewere I’ve been continuing discussions about the influences we allow into our Bible study. My view is that far too much reliance is placed up commentaries, study bibles and other “theological” writings. That understanding of scripture is being influenced by that reliance, leading to the acceptance and perpetuation of some questionable doctrines.
I suggest it’s important to start with scripture ALONE.
Don’t study scripture WITH other resources. Trust the Holy Spirit to give understanding of what we read. Don’t turn to a commentary to find “the meaning” of passage that isn’t immediately understood. Be prepared to accept that things may remain a “mystery” for the time being. We don’t need to understand everything NOW. We just learn and understand what we can. Other things will come later as understanding grows.
Sermons, discussion, history books and other teaching resources are useful AFTERWARDS and can help us process what we’ve been studying IN scripture. But they shouldn’t be used to shape the direction of our study before (or even during) that personal time with scripture.
In putting scripture first we will find that our study of the Bible will equip us to handle those resources (rather than vice versa). Our discernment will be enhanced and we’ll be able to differentiate between the good and the bad within those resources.
A very common and predictable response to what I’ve had to say about trusting the Holy Spirit has been a snide reference to “checking your brain in at the door”. I’m not sure what that says about attitudes towards the Holy Spirit if so many suggest that trusting the Spirit means that the brain isn’t needed.
The irony is that so little use of the brain is required when we turn to others to interpret things for us, wanting them to tell us what scripture “really” means, instead of making the effort to address scripture for ourselves.