Sometimes People Study A Bible Topic “Too Much”

Of course we can never study the Bible too much as a whole, but sometimes people keep studying and studying a passage until they can figure out a way to come up with a meaning for the passage that is different than the plain and obvious meaning.

My friend Bill Smith once told me where he had read somewhere a whole page explaining why Philip didn’t go down into the water in Acts 8:38, in spite of the fact that the verse says he did!

Another example:  Jesus said in Mark 16:16a “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” It should only take about 5 minutes to understand that verse means a sinner has to be baptized to be saved. Some might study the scriptures for hours to try to figure out a way to get around it. That’s worse than a waste of time.

God asserted in I Cor 14:34-35 “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” That is about as plain as you can get on the issue of women preachers. Perhaps the reason many come up with something different than what God says on the issue is because they study around and around until they figure out a way to allow women to preach from the pulpit – just the opposite of what the Bible clearly says.

Jesus taught in Matt 19:9 “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” That is pretty easy to understand. Take 10 minutes and study it to understand what Jesus is saying. Many must study it for too long, because they somehow find all kinds of reasons for divorce other than the only one that Jesus allowed.

Jesus commanded in Matt 5:34 “Swear not at all,” but a few preachers develop whole sermons and whole articles trying to prove why it is acceptable to do just what Jesus said we are not to do – swear. Me thinks they are studying too long on the subject. Wouldn’t it be wiser just to take a minute or two to accept what Jesus said here (Luke 6:46), and then spend all those additional hours gained studying a more difficult passage, say in the minor prophets or elsewhere?

Jesus told us in Matt 5:22 “whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of h-e-l-l fire,” but some preachers talk and talk and talk and finally end up saying that we can call our brother a “fool” without being in danger of h-e-l-l fire. I think their time would be better spent studying another Bible topic. Perhaps that would keep them from rejecting such simple statements from the Lord.

On the cross Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” We can read this passage and accept it as is, or some people spend days and days studying to get around the plain meaning of the text because they “cannot” (they refuse to) understand how the Father could forsake Jesus. Why not just take two or three minutes to accept the truth of what is said there, and then spend all that extra time saved studying a passage in the Bible that is more difficult to understand – perhaps from the book of Revelation?

By all means, study the Bible in-depth. Jesus said about the scriptures “in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39) But don’t waste a minute of time studying the Bible in order to get around the obvious meaning of passages. Like was said earlier, that is worse than a waste of time.

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