O Lord, You made us in Your image and gave us Your word so that we might know You.  We pray for wisdom and discernment as we prepare to learn how to read Your word.  Those things that are profitable for our understanding – we ask for more.  Those things that distract and confuse us when we read your word – we pray that they would drop away.  May we learn in Your word great things so that we might know you better and glorify Jesus.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

In the first chapter of Knowing Scripture, R.C. Sproul begins with a discussion of a few of the reasons why people do not study the bible, and cites two quick defenses.  Then he lays out a much more detailed set of reasons, which I will briefly restate.

The first reason people don’t study the bible is because most folks think it is too difficult to understand.  Against this objection, Sproul points out that the reformers developed the idea of perspicuity.  Perspicuity is the idea that scripture is clear enough for the layman to understand; if one area is hard to grasp, keep reading because God makes it clear in some other place in the bible.

A second myth about bible study is that the bible is dull & boring.  Sproul doesn’t make mention of our cultural habits, but I would say that there is a certain validity to this point.  Television & movies are made in such a way that they draw us in and captivate our attention.  By contrast, the word of God stands alone and requires, as Sproul says, hard work.  We rarely open the bible and discover the same level of engagement as an Indiana Jones movie.  But may I interject here that hard word, well done, is immensely more satisfying than passively sitting back and watching television?

Sadly, our culture does tend toward less arduous tasks, and slothfulness (*laziness) describes us perfectly.  Isn’t it ironic that we can easily spend 3-5 hours in front of a television in a day and the thought of 30 minutes in the bible is too much to ask?

In Deuteronomy 6 we are commanded to diligently teach the word to our children.  In fact, so clear and detailed is the command that faithful Jews would literally bind copies of the scripture to the head and hand.  This demonstrated a level of commitment to the word of God that few people in our modern culture can appreciate.

Tomorrow we will continue by looking at the New Testament approach to bible study.  And soon enough we’ll be getting some good tools.