Better Bible Study Tip #12: Draw Conclusions

There are some people who tend to avoid hard questions in their Bible study. They think they have it all down. That’s not a healthy approach to Bible study.

But there’s also some who thrive on hard questions. Take some time to read some scholarly books about the Bible, and you’ll see what I mean. Often times scholars love to raise different, often overlooked, questions. They very frequently remind others that maybe they don’t have things down as firmly as they think they do. They love reminding others that there’s more to think about.

Scholarship isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes we might not have as firm of an understanding of a subject as we think we do. Sometimes we need to be reminded of those hard questions. Sometimes we need to be challenged to think through our positions a little more thoroughly. Sometimes we might even hold incorrect positions, and through the process of considering someone’s questions and objections, we end up exchanging error for truth in our own understanding. Go ahead. Ask the hard questions. Wrestle with scripture. The process of wrestling with questions can actually be a really enjoyable process. But we also need to remember that questions are not conclusions. We should seek to draw conclusions when we study Scripture, especially when it comes to critical points of doctrine. Yes, it is true that the Bible is clearer in some places than it is in others. But if your Bible study always ends with open ended questions and uncertainty, that’s not a healthy approach to Bible study either.

It is important to draw conclusions so that we can have a framework to make decisions. We are not supposed to be “double-minded” and “unstable” people who are continually filled with doubt (Jas. 1:5-8). Meditating on God’s word is supposed to leave us grounded like a tree planted by rives of water (Ps. 1). No, we may not always feel like we have a perfect answer for every questions all the time, but if Scripture is profitable to teaching, reproof, and correction (2 Tim. 3:16-17), this implies that we should be drawing conclusions about how Scripture should impact our lives. As we mature as Christians, we are supposed to develop “discernment” (Heb. 5:14; Phil. 1:9-11) to draw wise conclusions.

At some point we have to land the plane in Bible study, even when we know that the plane will eventually have to take off again. You can draw conclusions, and still remain humble about the limits of your knowledge. It’s okay to draw tentative conclusions, and then allow yourself to revisit an issue at a later time. But at some point we have to draw conclusions.