With a book as popular and widely-read as the Bible, it’s completely normal and natural that not everyone who reads the Bible would approach it the same way.
Some Christians read Scripture to learn facts and information, others read God’s Word to receive wisdom and encouragement, and still others read God’s Word to find practical tips and advice they can apply to their lives today.
This is great!
I love that the Bible offers us so much, and that in can impact all of our lives in such different ways.
Yet, we must be careful not to focus solely on one aspect of Scripture, neglecting everything else the Bible offers us and skewing our perspective in the process.
Otherwise, we are likely to end up believing one or more biblical misconceptions, and these misconceptions about the Bible can REALLY prevent us from reading, understanding, and enjoying God’s Word!
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The Danger of Biblical Misconceptions
While holding a few misconceptions about the Bible may not always be dangerous, unfortunately, these biblical misconceptions really can prevent us from enjoying God’s Word if left unchecked.
Here’s an excerpt from chapter two of my book, Fall in Love with God’s Word: Practical Strategies for Busy Women, that explains this well:
And yet, isn’t this the same approach many of us take with God’s Word?
We get so caught up in our own perspective that we completely forget to consider God’s perspective. We’re so busy looking for the information, insight, and encouragement we want to receive that we completely neglect to pause and ask God what information, insight, and encouragement He wants us to share.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with looking up a particular fact or an encouraging verse when we need one. But we must be careful not to forfeit the honor and privilege of sacred communion with God Himself for nothing more than a passive, one-way exchange of information.
But all too often, that’s exactly what we do.
We trade the fullness of God’s Word for our own limited interpretation of it, and we wonder why it’s weak and ineffective in our lives. We content ourselves with a meager portion of truth and encouragement, and we wonder why nothing changes.
Or even worse, we fail to read the Bible at all, and we wonder why we’re still stuck dealing with the same hurts, hang-ups, sins, and struggles year after year.
The problem isn’t the Bible’s lack of power or relevance in our lives. God’s Word is every bit as powerful today as it’s always been. The problem is we aren’t accessing this power. We’ve gotten so comfortable in our current routines that we don’t even realize the Bible offers us so much more.
Friend, it’s time to stop settling for a life of hurts, hang-ups, sin, and struggle, thinking that’s all God has for us. It’s time to replace our skewed perspective of the Bible with a more complete and accurate perspective so we can finally experience the life-changing power of God’s Word for ourselves.”
You can learn more about my book, Fall in Love with God’s Word: Practical Strategies for Busy Women, here.
Five Common Misconceptions About the Bible
In Fall in Love with God’s Word: Practical Strategies for Busy Women, I share five common, yet incorrect, misconceptions about the Bible many Christian women have, often without realizing it.
These biblical misconceptions are:
- The Storybook Bible Perspective
- The Rule Book Bible Perspective
- The Instruction Manual Bible Perspective
- The Coffee Table Book Bible Perspective
- The Personal Biography Bible Perspective
Let’s look at each of these common misconceptions about the Bible a bit more in-depth.
1. The Storybook Bible Perspective
The Storybook Bible Perspective is a common misconception about the Bible that views God’s Word primarily as a children’s storybook, designed to interest or entertain.
While it is true that the Word does contain stories (many of which are VERY entertaining!), the Bible–as a whole–is not primarily a story book. And if we are only reading the Bible as something to interest or entertain us, we aren’t going to be very motivated to read it.
Instead, we need to dive deeper into the stories to uncover their meaning.
- What does this passage teach us about God and His character?
- What does this passage teach us about our spiritual ancestors and the choices they made?
- What wisdom or advice does this passage have for me to apply to my life today?
- What lessons can these stories teach me?
These are all great questions to ask no matter which of these five common misconceptions about the Bible you’re trying to avoid.
2. The Rule Book Bible Perspective
The Rule Book Bible Perspective is a common biblical misconception that views God’s Word primarily as a huge collection of outdated rules designed to ruin our fun.
And if you’re still viewing Scripture as just a collection of rules — of course you’re not going to be motivated to read it!
Yet, again, the Bible is so much more than just a long list of rules and regulations. It has so much wisdom, insight, encouragement, advice, perspective, and even humor for us as we read its words and apply them to our lives. The Bible is how we get to know God, and one of the primary ways He speaks to us today.
Yes, the Bible does give us rules and guidelines, but it gives us so much more than that!
3. The Instruction Manual Bible Perspective
The Instruction Manual Bible Perspective is a common misconception about the Bible that views God’s Word primarily as a “how-to guide” full of clear-cut, step-by-step answers to any situation or predicament we could possibly face.
Personally, I was first introduced to this idea in high school, with the acronym: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (B.I.B.L.E.). While this acronym is super catchy, unfortunately, it’s not really correct.
You see, the Bible is not a how-to guide, an owner’s manual or a set of instructions. There’s no table of contents where you can look up important issues like “How do I respond to an adult child caught in sin?” “How should I dress for church?” or “Should Christians participate in Halloween?” and then just flip to the page to get your answer, all laid out on the page in step-by-step format. This is one of the most common misconceptions about the Bible.
Yes, Scripture does give us wisdom and guidance, but often in a more roundabout way. It doesn’t simply lay out what we need to do, with step-by-step instructions. We need to read the stories and commands, absorb the lessons, and (often) figure out exactly how they apply to us today. It’s a bit more complicated than an instruction manual.
4. The Coffee Table Book Bible Perspective
The Coffee Table Book Bible Perspective is a common biblical misconception that views God’s Word primarily as a beautiful collection of short, inspiring quotes we can read or memorize whenever we’re feeling sad, lonely, or need a little extra motivation.
Yet, again, this misconceptions about the Bible would be a gross simplification. While Scripture does contain numerous quotables, it can be irresponsible to simply cherry-pick verses out of context to prove our point or convey a message. Many of those verses either don’t apply to us directly, or they don’t apply the way they hope they might.
And when we only read the most beautiful or inspiring verses from the Bible, we miss out on the stern warnings against sin that we desperately need, along with the beauty of what God has done for us in comparison to where we’d be without Him.
5. The Personal Autobiography Bible Perspective
The Personal Autobiography Bible Perspective is a common misconception about the Bible that views God’s Word as a book primarily about YOU.
Yes, the Bible does contain a wealth of insight and information for you, but it’s not primarily about you. The Bible is a book about God and His plan for grace and redemption for all mankind.
So yes, please do ask questions like, “What does this passage mean for my life?” and “What should I do in response to this passage?” but don’t stop there. Also ask yourself questions like, “What does this passage teach me about God and what He values?”
Asking yourself questions like these will help you avoid the most common misconceptions about the Bible as you learn to read it with a more well-rounded perspective.
Reading the Bible Can Be Fun and Enjoyable!
By the way, if you’re interested in learning to read the Bible more consistently, get more out of it, and truly enjoy your time in God’s Word, I’d love to invite you to check out my brand new book: Fall in Love with God’s Word: Practical Strategies for Busy Women!
Practical, encouraging, and full of biblical truth, Fall in Love with God’s Word has everything you need to learn how to:
- Overcome 7 common obstacles preventing you from spending time in Scripture
- Discover the personalized Bible-reading routine that works for YOU
- Learn 15 easy ways to make reading the Bible more meaningful and enjoyable
- Use Scripture to conquer sin, false beliefs, and negative thought patterns
- Experience fresh spiritual growth and passion for God’s Word.
Please visit Amazon.com or your local bookstore to learn more and grab your copy of Fall in Love with God’s Word (and its companion workbook) today!
Additional Resources for Better Bible Study
Here at Equipping Godly Women, I have a TON of resources to help you learn how to read the Bible, avoid the most common misconceptions about the Bible, and truly enjoy your time in Scripture.
Here are a few additional posts you may enjoy:
Are you guilty of believing these misconceptions about the Bible? What other biblical misconceptions drive you nuts?