How To Read The Bible The Wrong Way!
I have posted before about tips that you should follow when you study the Bible (such as here). At this point, I think it will also be beneficial to list some things you should NOT do when studying the Bible.
1. Ignore the Background
Each book of the Bible was written to a specific audience at a specific time and place in world history. To divorce the text from its world is to do harm to the text itself. It will end up having a negative effect on you, as you will ultimately draw incorrect conclusions about the meaning of a passage of Scripture. Background information is important. Without it, we only gain a vague picture of what is being said. Without background information, for example, the claims that Jesus made seem far less radical than they actually were. So don't ignore the background of a biblical text, or else you will miss a fuller understanding of the passage.
2. Read Into the Text
There is a technical term for reading information into the text. It's called eisegesis, and it is one of the deadly sins of Bible study. Why? Because, as I explained above, each book of the Bible was meant to be understood in a context. When we read into the text, we are reading something in that we hope to find in the text. That is, we have divorced the Bible from its context and added our own. This happens far more often than we realize, and it is this practice that has caused people to believe that the Bible condones all sorts of things that it actually doesn't. Draw meaning from the passage as it would have been understood in its context, but do not read into the text what you hope to get out of it.
3. Let Your Theology Challenge the Bible
Ultimately, our theology should be undergirded by Scripture. In other words, Scripture should hold up our theology, not the other way around. Scripture should inform our theology, not the other way around. Because of this fact, we should let the Bible challenge our theology, not the other way around. If we find that our theology and Scripture conflict in some area, it is our theology which must change. Whatever you do, do not let your theology twist what is meant by a passage of Scripture.
4. Assume That Head Knowledge is Sufficient
Let's be honest, it is possible for someone to know quite a lot about the Bible, but live like the world. Don't be this person. It is a good thing to know the Bible well. It is an even better thing to meditate on it and apply it to your everyday life. If what you know isn't flowing from your head to your hands, then there is a problem.
5. Keep It To Yourself
Last, but not least, you should not keep what you know to yourself. You should share what you learned from God's Word with others, whether this be friends at work, members of your church at a small group, or some other setting, the important thing is that you share what you learned. One way to avoid keeping this to yourself is, as I mentioned above, to live out what you know.
Recommended Resource: Knowable Word: Helping Ordinary People Learn to Study the Bible