Top 10 Common Bible Study Mistakes To Avoid (Part 1)

The Top 10 Common Bible Study Mistakes (Part 1)

No matter where you are in your Bible study, Logos Cloud is here to help you find your way faster, engage with scripture easier, and experience powerful Bible study at a whole new level. Our top priority is to help you engage and grow in the Word.

Here are five of 10 common Bible study mistakes to avoid while digging into the Word:

This article was originally posted on the Faithlife Blog.

1. Starting without prayer

The Bible is unlike any other book because it was inspired by God himself. Paul told us that “the things of the Spirit of God . . . are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14), and Jesus said that the Spirit guides us into the truth (John 16:13). We have access to God through prayer, so we should be looking to him for guidance as we seek to understand his Scriptures. It doesn’t matter what incredible resources and study tools we use if we do not first go to God.

2. Studying by yourself

Scripture was intended to be read and studied in community. We’ve all but lost sight of that in our modern individualistic culture. I’m not saying it’s wrong to do personal study—there is definitely a time and place for that. But if we study on our own in exclusion to studying with others, we’ll miss out on the rich insights the community of God has to offer. Additionally, we all need the checks and balances of other believers to keep us accountable. So do your personal study, but then bring what you learn to a group setting and discuss it together.

If you don’t know where to start, a great place to begin is in our Logos Cloud Faithlife group. It’s easy, all you have to do is join and you’ll be part of a thriving faith-based community who loves studying the Bible. Get your questions answered, enjoy rich Christian community, and stay accountable to the beliefs of your faith.

3. Bringing preconceptions to the text

It is tempting to read the Bible selectively, trying to prove an idea we already believe to be true. If we come to the Scriptures with a predetermined conclusion, we can internalize the words so they alight with our interpretation. That might make us feel better, but it won’t necessarily do us any good. Rather, we should open the Bible with humility, knowing that some of our beliefs are wrong and ought to be changed. We must let the text speak for itself without forcing our own preconceptions of it.

4. Reading from only one perspective

Similar to the above mistake, it is tempting to only use study resources we already agree with. But this severely limits our spiritual growth. I’ve often found that those whose perspectives differ from my own often have the most to teach me. When Logos selected contributors to write the notes and articles in the Faithlife Study Bible, we wanted to avoid getting stuck in one particular viewpoint. So we reached out to a wide range of different theologians. You’ll find contributions from such men as Timothy Keller, N. T. Wright, and everywhere in between. They all share a love for God, but their differing perspectives bring unique insights to the Scriptures.

5. Using only one translation

Different Bible versions follow different translation philosophies. The basic categories include formal equivalence (seeking word-for-word accuracy), dynamic equivalence (seeking thought-for-thought accuracy), and paraphrases (rewriting the overall message). Furthermore, the Greek and Hebrew texts have many nuances that can’t be captured by a single translation. If you don’t read Greek or Hebrew, comparing multiple translations can help you see the various nuances each passage has to offer.

What mistakes have you made when studying the Bible? What study tips do you find helpful? Share your ideas in the comments below, and be sure to come back soon to see five more common Bible study mistakes to avoid.