I’m going to start by saying something that should be obvious to everyone, but maybe isn’t: You should be reading the Bible. Not only that, but you should also be memorizing parts of the Bible. Now for most Christians, this should not be a shocking statement, but just simply good basic Christianity 101 stuff. The same way doctors tell people to eat healthy, and coaches make players practice, or why you keep putting gas in your car.
I am speaking, of course, to those who believe the Bible is the Word of God, but even if you fall into the camp of those who don’t believe, I will still argue that you should read it too. The ultimate reason for anyone to read the Bible is because that is where we meet Jesus. Why did Roman authorities kill this Jewish carpenter 2000 years ago, and why should I care? The answer is because the Bible tells us that this man was the Son of God. Those who discover Jesus’ life and teachings are forced with a decision: to believe He is the Son of God who came to die for the sins of mankind (including you), or believe He was just an interesting ancient figure in history who has no authority over mankind. He is either one or the other and the Bible is the only place where we are all confronted with this decision.
For those who agree with the statement that you need to read the Bible more often, I would raise the bar even further and say that you should do more than just read it, but you should study it. Now I’m not saying that you need to know every bit of trivia in the Bible. There is a difference between just reading and studying. Reading is something you do casually, maybe for intellectual stimulation, enrichment, or enjoyment. Bible reading is inherently devotional and low maintenance. Bible study on the other hand involves more work. It involves concentration and exertion. It often requires additional tools or aids, and it asks more questions about context and setting and isn’t satisfied with simplistic answers.
Or think of it this way, I once built a shelf for my garage out of leftover scraps of wood that were laying around the garage. It works okay, but would probably collapse if someone stood next to it and sneezed. I would be mistaken to believe that I now can build a house. That house would last about as long as the Timberwolves did in the playoffs. When I built the shelf, I performed the same basic task as a good carpenter, but what distinguishes the carpenter is the time, effort, technique, and experience involved. The same is true for your interaction with Scripture.
And though I highly recommend Bible memorization, that isn’t the same thing as thoughtful analysis of a passage of Scripture. I can have you memorize the dictionary, but that won’t turn you into a literature professor. Real study involves analysis and critical thinking. For example, many have memorized Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God.” So, what is the gift referring to in that verse? Is it grace? Is it faith? Is it something else? This is where Bible study can help.
I am certainly not against personal Bible study, but it is almost always better to do it in a group. This is where a church group can be beneficial. Surround yourself with those who have studied more than you have so you can learn from them. You can knock ideas off one another, look at other resources together, and avoid drawing unbelievable conclusions.
So, who were the Nephilim? Who is Zerubbabel? Who is Jesus? Might be good questions for a Bible study group. I’d be happy to discuss it further with you, just don’t ask me to build you anything.