One of the heartening signs in Christianity today is the resurgence of Bible study in many quarters. Of greatest significance, the Bible is increasingly coming to the fore in the training of Christian ministers and in the program of local churches.
Though thankful to God for this progress, we would be unrealistic not to recognize two outstanding shortcomings of Bible study today.
Failures In Bible Study
The first is that this renewed emphasis on Bible study is not as widespread as it needs to be if the Christian church is to be revitalized and equipped for its crucial mission to our needy world. Many preparing for Christian work are still not being trained for a Bible-oriented ministry. And the rate of “Bible literacy” among the laity is still relatively low.
A second shortcoming has to do with the fact that the way in which the Bible is studied has a great bearing on the value of such study. As a result, our lack of concern about study methods or our espousal of unsound methods may make some Bible study less beneficial than it should be or may even result in study that is more detrimental than uplifting.
Doctrine And Practice
One underlying cause of these shortcomings is of special significance to those who have a high regard for the Scriptures. It is the fact that we have often not put into actual practice the theory we profess to accept, that the Bible is the final authority for faith and conduct. We have not been sufficiently aware that it is possible to hold to a strict doctrine of Scriptural inspiration and authority and at the same time neglect to give the Bible the vital place in church and personal life that such a high view requires.
This discrepancy between doctrine and practice poses an especially subtle ...1
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