Daily Bible Study Tips: Thoughts and Reflections on Bible Study

Religious Fiction

We all know that Bible study is important for spiritual growth, and that's what we mainly concentrate on in this St. John's study.  Today I'd like to take a minute to talk about another important aspect of Bible study, one that doesn't get mentioned as often.   It is that reading and studying the Bible for yourself protects you against misinformation.  Misinformation can be harmless. One of our own pastors (name suppressed) said from the pulpit that Acts is a letter written by Paul, which is true except for the two details that Acts is a book and it was written by Luke.  Anybody can misspeak, and if you have studied your Bible, you realize that (1) he just misspoke, and (2) this bit of misinformation didn't matter much.

Unfortunately, some misinformation can be very harmful.  For example, in the current Methodist Reporter, I read a review of The Gospel According to Judas, by Benjamin Iscariot, a pseudonym for two fiction writers.  Now, I'm not against religious fiction.  But according to the review, a note in this book says that the accounts of two particular miracles (changing water to wine and walking on the water) were not from eye witnesses.  If you were not familiar with these passages from your own reading and study – and sadly, most people aren't – you might say, "Hmm.  I didn't know that.  I wonder if those things really happened."  My own reaction, was "What?!  What about Peter, Andrew, James, and John??  What about a whole boatload of disciples??"  John was at the wedding.  Matthew was in the boat.  The note is just not true.  It's a work of fiction, get it? 

Unfortunately, one thing we learned from The Da Vinci Code is that people don't get it.  People who don't read the Bible for themselves have no basis for sorting out the fiction from the occasional factoid or fact, and they tend to believe the weirdest stuff because "they wouldn't put that in there if it wasn't true."  Yes, they would.  It's fiction.  It's not supposed to be true!

So my advice is this.  Read your Bible.  Certainly don't take my word for what's in it.  Don't even – and I say this with great respect for our terrific pastors – take the pastor's word for what's in it.  Read it for yourself.  And if you must read The Da Vinci Code or The Gospel According to Judas, pause about every other page and say, "It's fiction, get it?"

Copyright 2007, 2011 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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