IVP - Behind the Books - Bad Bible Reading Habits

August 19, 2009

Bad Bible Reading Habits

Reading and studying the Bible is as central as it gets for evangelical spiritual practice. Despite this, evangelicals are often incredibly inept at it. They rip verses out of context, impose twenty-first-century ideas and sensibilities on ancient texts, read poetry and imagery literally, or simply skim read—all of which distort and twist the sacred text they claim to revere.

Ajith Fernando notes another bad Bible reading habit—the tendency to look for the inspiring verse or two. At one seminar he taught it was a week-long battle to get participants to pay attention to what the text actually said instead of what they wanted it to say.

Fernando points to the dearth of inductive Bible study in the church as a main cause of this malady. For decades, IVP has been publishing a wealth of inductive study resources. Most recently, we released the first eight of the N. T. Wright For Everyone Bible Study Guides, a series that will soon cover the whole New Testament. These guides are a great way to get beyond the superficial to the substance, beyond the milk to the meat of Scripture.

And if you want to be alerted to the variety of ways we mishandle the Bible, check out Abusing Scripture by Manfred Brauch. It’s a great resource.

Of course, inductive Bible study takes work. It takes time. But isn’t that worth it to get the Bible right?

Posted by Andy Le Peau at August 19, 2009 7:41 AM Bookmark and Share


Andy, are there any books or resources you'd recommend for teaching inductive Bible study in a church setting? I'm teaching a 6-week series this fall at my church and would love a basic "how to" guide written for non-scholarly adults.

Comment by: Mike Hickerson at August 19, 2009 9:43 AM

Hi Mike

A couple come to mind. Transforming Bible Study by Bob Grahmann from IVP is a very solid how-to guide. Not long (144 pages) and not scholarly. Another even briefer piece is the IVP 32-page booklet by Jack Kuhatschek, How to Study the Bible.


Comment by: Andy Le Peau at August 19, 2009 10:12 AM

One idea you might look at is "the Essential Bible Guide" that covers 100 key passages of the Bible that makes it an easy way for people to start reading the Bible and be able to get through it. Then there is also "The Essential Jesus" published by IVP covering teh life of Jesus

Comment by: Bruce at September 1, 2009 4:40 PM

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