I closed my Bible Study, finding myself spiritually empty and confused.
God, this doesn’t make any sense. Bible studies hold me accountable to read your Word so why can’t I hear you?
Over the past few months, I have felt the whisper of the Holy Spirit telling me to stop doing Bible studies. So being the good Christian I am, I kept pushing through my current Bible study, waiting for a spiritual nugget to come. As I continued reading on, I found his whisper growing into an undeniable declaration.
Stop doing Bible studies.
With no progression, I finally asked God what on earth was going on. I analyzed how many scriptures I actually looked up in the Bible and I found myself feeling uneasy. To be brutally honest, I didn’t even have to open my Bible during the day’s study. The writer had already printed the Bible verses in the study, so there was no need. To add to the shock, as I looked back through the week’s reading, I realized I had read more personal stories than scripture.
And it hit me.
I wasn’t studying the author of the Bible. I was studying the author of the Bible study.
Her personal experiences, her personal beliefs, her perspective.
Supplements versus Sustenance
Don’t get me wrong, Bible studies are not of the devil. God has used many Bible studies to speak truth into my life, reveal my shortcomings, and present my next steps. Bible studies are not bad, but we should note that these are meant to be supplements to God’s word. After further digging, God revealed that my main forms of “spiritual feeding” were from podcasts, sermons, and Bible studies. In other words, my spiritual encounter with God was first filtered through the eyes and hearts of others.
Can you imagine eating vitamins and expecting the same results as eating a full breakfast? It’s insane. Yet we can easily find ourselves doing that with our spiritual lives. Rather than going straight to the source of sustenance, we go after the nourishment from other’s words. We can find ourselves treating these items as meal replacements rather than supplements.
True or False?
As I continued to dive into God’s request, I found myself reminded of several Bible verses warning against false prophets, teachers, and preachers. The verses jumped out at me:
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. – 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. – Acts 20:28-30
How was I to know if I was subconsciously surrounding myself with people saying what I want to hear? With the words of misled Christians?
If we are not directly reading the word of God without another’s influence, how will we be able to discern what’s fake versus truth? God further confirmed His command to me by introducing me to the term “narcigesis.” I want my communication with God to be directly from Him, not through my own perspective or another’s perspective of Him.
Narcigesis – superimposing one’s self into the meaning of the passage and interpreting the Bible to mean something one wants it to mean rather than interpreting scripture for what it means about God
I thank God for the Bible studies that have changed my life and helped me grow in Christ. I admire and strive for the boldness of those who follow God’s calling to write those studies. But I am equally thankful for this season in which God has called me to seek him without another’s perspective.
So, I will be putting down my Bible study and picking up my Bible. Join me in reading a chapter of Proverbs every day this September. Rather than doing just a Bible study, we will do a scripture study, letting its unfiltered words seep into our unfiltered heart.