Better Bible Study Tip#8: Study to Understand the Meaning of the Text, Not to Defend Your Views

There are two kinds of Bible students, sectarians and truth seekers. We all run in different groups. A sectarian is one who firmly aligns himself with his group, and always seek to defend the views of his group. A sectarian takes it for granted that the views of his group are the right ones, and anyone who opposes the views of his group should be opposed. Some sectarians are liberal. Some are conservative. Some are traditionalist. Some are critics. Sectarians can be found in all kinds of different groups, but all sectarians align their own beliefs with the beliefs of their particular group.

Truth seekers are always willing to look into the views of others, and will examine those beliefs to see if there is any truth in those views. He won’t simply accept the views of others without close examination. But if a different understanding can withstand close examination, the truth seeker is always willing to admit that he was wrong and is ready to change his mind. The truth seeker is willing to adopt truth, even if it means opposing his own group from time to time. The truth seeker is always willing to examine truth, even if it means admitting that an opposing group is right on a particular point. Some truth seekers can be found in conservative groups. Some truth seekers can be found in liberal groups. Truth seekers can be found in all kinds of groups, but they are willing to separate themselves from their group whenever truth demands it.

If Jesus is Lord, then He deserves our allegiance. If our allegiance to our group is stronger than our allegiance to Jesus, we may end up becoming skilled at arguing for what our group says a passage means rather than becoming skilled in actually studying the text for ourselves. The goal of Bible study shouldn’t be about finding ammunition to make someone guilty, or to shame someone on the other side of an argument into submission. If our allegiance is to God, our Bible study should be aimed at righty understanding Scripture, regardless of who is right.