Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Five Unhelpful Ways to Study/Read the Bible

Here are some common unhelpful ways to read and study God's Word:

  • The Xanax Approach. Feel anxious? Read Philippians 4:6. Feel tired? Read Matthew 11:28. The Xanax Approach treats the Bible as if it exists to make us feel better. Bible study is about finding comfort for my issues. The problem with this approach is that I ask how the Bible can serve me, rather than how I can serve the God it proclaims.
  • The Pinball Approach. Lacking a reference or any guidance on what to read, I read whatever Scripture verse I happen to turn to next, ricocheting from one passage to the next. But the Pinball Approach gives no thought to the culture, history, authorship, or original intent of the passage.
  • The Magic 8 Ball Approach. Remember the Magic 8 Ball? You just shake it and wait until it provides a clear answer to your most difficult questions. But the Bible isn't magical and its primary function is to transform us rather than to answer our most pressing questions.
  • The Personal Shopper Approach. We don't actually study the Bible; rather, we shop around for Bible teachers or preachers who suit our tastes. This isn't all bad, but it can prevent us from taking ownership of Scripture. Much like the Pinball Approach, we ricochet from teacher to teacher and topic to topic without getting the tools to study God's Word for ourselves.
  • The Jack Sprat Approach. In the English nursery rhyme, the character Jack Sprat "could eat no fat." We take this approach when we're picky eaters who refuse to digest certain parts of the Bible. But all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable. We need a balanced diet to grow into maturity.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Popular Books Downloaded But Not Read

The Goldfinch, a sprawling 880-page novel by Donna Tart, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 2014. The book became a bestseller in America and in Britain, but according ...

[Read More]

The Average Person Wants the Bible More but Is Reading it Less

The Bible in America Study reports that 62 percent of the people in the communities surrounding our churches would like to read the Bible more. Another study reports 87 percent of ...

[Read More]