My friend Dan at “The Ekklesia in Southern Maine” has written an excellent post called “Official.” In the post, Dan is asking about (or actually offering examples of) both the systematic study of Scripture and more casual usage of Scripture.
A systematic study of Scripture would be a planned study (like most Bible studies). It could be study through a book of the Bible or it could be topical. But, the plan for study would be decided before-hand.
A more casual use of Scripture would depend on what is happening in people’s lives. Scripture would not be studied as much as used as examples or to encourage, convict, admonish, etc. But, which Scripture to use would not depend on a predetermined plan, but on what is happening the lives of the people involved.
In his post, Dan talks about how conversation about life situations (using Scripture along the way) has proved more beneficial to him recently than more systematic studies of Scripture. In response to Dan’s post, I said the following:
I find that improptu teaching/encouraging based on whatâ€™s going on in each personâ€™s lives can be very beneficial. These times can include scriptural teaching and study as well.
I think there is also a benefit to systematic study, because that study will round out our understanding. It will fill in gaps and prepare us for struggles that we will eventually go through, or that others are going through.
So, I say, do both!
Yes, do both. Have planned systematic studies of Scripture, but don’t stop there. Have conversations with people about what’s going on in their lives, but don’t stop there either. We need both.
What do you think?