Be Careful of Only Studying the Bible Forensically

This is how it usually goes with studying the Bible. New Christians read the Bible and discover all the wonderful events and people of God’s Holy Word.  Stories told in younger years of Noah and the Ark and miracles God performed through Moses as the Hebrews were delivered from the bondage under pharaoh are now alive and fresh in their minds again. The milk of the word is enjoyed as they grow and begin to bear fruit as followers of Christ.

Then the battles come and go, and the word is stood upon to walk in victory. During difficult times, believers turn daily to the Bible for instruction, encouragement and strength. The meat of the word begins to be enjoyed as the faithful mature in Christ. This growth is not a chronological thing. Some believers get there sooner rather than later. Reading the Bible then gives way to word studies. This gives way to in-depth study. Knowledge is gained, and it is a joy to experience God’s Holy Spirit revealing things as the depths of the Word are plumbed.

There is, however, something to watch out for when the study of God’s Word reaches a certain level. The desire to only study the Bible in a forensic manner can lead to missing out rather than learning more. Christians can end up taking the same approach to studying God’s Word as those forensic experts on TV crime dramas take when analyzing bodies for clues.

Forensic: relating to the use of scientific knowledge or methods in solving crimes.
From Merriam-Webster.com.
Retrieved March 6, 2014, from, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forensic

Is it wrong to study the bible like this? Not at all. In fact, it reveals to those ready for the meat of the Word extremely powerful spiritual knowledge that is yet hidden to the babes in Christ who are living on the milk of the Word. However, those forensic experts that study bodies for clues to solve crimes miss out on understanding and appreciating the lives of the very people who used to be alive in those bodies they are examining. Choosing to exclusively take the forensic approach to studying God’s Word can lead to missing out on the spiritually renewing fact that the Word of God is alive (Hebrews 4:12)!

The problem comes in when the Bible begins to only be studied as a thing rather than the Living Word from our Creator. If this begins to happen, take a step back and reread those favorite events in the Bible just to enjoy the stories they are telling. See the events of Bible heroes unfold once again as if reading them for the first time.

The day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus is fast approaching. I like to take time to read the stories of the life of Jesus in the four Gospels around this time. As of this writing, I am reading Luke’s account of the life of Jesus. As I read I am seeing new things and remembering old things. Though I do stop to pick apart some clues about details I never noticed before, I am also just enjoying rereading the telling of the earthly life and ministry of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.