An incomplete guide to the word of God is a common refrain in evangelical Christian circles.
“There’s only one way to learn it, it’s by reading it and practicing it,” says Dr. Robert P. Goodrich, a Baptist minister, author, and lecturer.
But how much do we really know about how to learn the word?
Dr. Goodrock and Dr. Scott B. Cramer, an assistant professor of biblical studies at the University of Texas at Austin, recently published an in-depth study that explores this question.
Dr. Crouch says, “We’re very interested in the extent to which a person can actually read and understand the Bible, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
To do this, the researchers surveyed 1,500 people who were asked to read a passage of the Bible that they were supposed to be able to comprehend.
The Bible’s authors, however, were given little input.
They were asked about how the passage was understood by the audience, which varied widely.
When the Bible was read in context, however.
the authors did offer up a few pointers.
First, the Bible often refers to the “others” in this way: “The sun went down; the rain fell; the wind blew; the cattle grew sick.”
This is what many people have in mind when they hear “heavenly Father.”
“If the Bible is really about a personal experience, we can’t make it a universal experience,” says Crouch.
But when the Bible’s creators are asked to make it universal, that can change.
“If you read a lot of the scriptures, you’ll find that the God of the Hebrews and the God who created the world is also the God to whom we’re to refer in the afterlife,” he says.
This may sound like a contradiction, but the authors say it is a logical leap.
“When you say, ‘I’m going to go to the heavens,’ the ‘God of the Jews’ and the ‘Lord of the Israelites’ and ‘Lord God of Israel’ and so forth and so on, they’re all speaking the same language, but in different ways.
So they’re talking about a universal and different reality,” he adds.
But it doesn’t end there.
The authors say that the people who are most familiar with the Bible when it comes to understanding its meaning are the people that read it most closely.
The people who have been most influenced by the Bible most in their lives are those who have experienced firsthand the biblical message through their own experiences.
This is why the Bible isn’t just something that people read, but it is something that they practice.
For example, the study found that people who attended Bible study more often and with more intensity were those who were most likely to have a direct experience of the message.
Dr Crouch notes that this is why it’s so important for people to read the Bible to better understand the message: “It’s important that people practice, for example, taking a Bible study class and going to church with a friend.
There’s a lot that you can learn from that experience,” he explains.
“We want to teach our students how to read and to practice reading the Bible.”
“You can’t put a stop to people’s reading because there’s no stopping reading the Scriptures.”
So how does this translate into action?
One important factor is the “one-way street” theory, which suggests that reading and practicing the Bible are similar.
In other words, the way people interpret the Bible doesn’t change the meaning.
“It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person because you’re reading the bible,” Crouch explains.
He adds that when people do practice the Bible through study, the results are often positive.
“A lot of people who do read the bible are not bad people, but they do get to experience the message through different contexts,” he notes.
So while the study is important in highlighting some of the things that we don’t know about reading the word, it is not a definitive statement about what reading the Word means.
The study’s conclusions may not be as definitive as they could be, though.
For one thing, the authors do not say if people who read the Word are more likely to become evangelicals or atheists.
The findings suggest that while there are differences between the way the Bible reads, there is also a general tendency for the Bible-believing and Bible-nondepartmentalized to be similar.
It’s also worth noting that there is a large overlap between the Christian faith and other religious traditions.
The vast majority of people say they are Christian, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are “believers.”
Some Christians, for instance, have an intense love of the Old Testament and the New Testament, and the Bible as a whole is deeply ingrained in their worldview.
The other way the study goes about establishing what the word means is by comparing the number of people that say that