There’s A Difference Between Bible Reading And Bible Study
The first Scripture I read in the morning is the three or four chapters that go with my reading the Bible through in a year plan. I highlight each section or topic or list in a different color, so you’ll find six different highlighter colors throughout my journaling Bible. It’s an easy way for me to focus on the verses I’m reading and not just skim and skip around.
I also write things I notice or phrases I love in the large margins as I read. I don’t use any other books or commentaries at this point because I’m just reading and praying that God will open my eyes to His word.
In my study Bible, I also try to read five Psalms and the Proverb that coordinates with the day of the month it is - 31 Proverbs in 31 days. I have to honestly admit that I don’t get to those every day, but they’re always a blessing when I do.
There’s a very definite difference between this reading and when I do a Bible study. When I see something interesting or God lays a topic on my heart, I’ll choose a book, read several commentaries and do some verse mapping to learn as much as I can. I hated doing this in school, but I love doing it in my Bible! Craziness, I know.
A great example of the difference between reading and study happened for me this weekend in 1 Chronicles 7. In this set of chapters, there are a lot of names, genealogies and places. They’re in certain orders and patterns, so something out of the ordinary catches my eye pretty quickly. That’s why, among all these fathers and sons, the mention of a daughter jumped out at me. Among the sons of Ephraim was a daughter named Sherah who built cities. I had to stop in the middle of my reading and do a study.
What I learned was Sherah probably directed the building of these cities or funded their construction. One commentator wrote that a virtuous woman, like this ancient contractor, can be as much of an honor and blessing as one of those mighty men of valor that David wrote about. That touched my heart in a very special way, that God would be so honored by Sherah that He preserved her story in Scripture for us to read today.
That’s a small verse in a large Bible, but that’s the difference between Bible reading and Bible study - diving in and digging for treasures we might not ordinarily notice. We may not have the time to study every single verse in-depth, but we need to balance out the reading and the studying so we get a healthy dose of both.
Where are you in your Bible reading right now? If you’re not already following a reading plan, you can always follow along with mine, which has a devotional in the drop-down menu, or on the left side of the home page, depending on what device you’re viewing it on. I pray it will be a blessing and God will move through His word into your heart. Then you can do an additional study on a subject that appeals to you, a time when you can spend more time on a single topic or passage. When you do, let me know which one you’ve chosen!