David Murray recently posted a sobering question from a reader of his blog:
I have an M.Div and have read hundreds of books and still feel that I don’t know my Bible. My knowledge has been all second hand as I have consumed commentaries during my devotional times. And yet my faith feels hollow and lifeless. I don’t know how to read the Bible and study it for myself. I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown…I try and start and I get so frustrated that I turn back to commentaries and the lifelessness continues…I can’t do this anymore.
Please help me…I know you don’t know me…but please help me…..
Murray begins his response addressing the immediate mental health needs for rest and recovery to this burnt out soul. And then he moves on to address “what got you into this situation”:
What’s really important is that you do not rely on yourself or on your commentaries but that you rely on God to give you light. Ask God for his Holy Spirit to enlighten your eyes and to shine light on His Word. He has promised to give wisdom and his Holy Spirit to those who ask for it (James 1:5-8; Luke 11:13). And remember, that knowing the Bible is not the end either. The ultimate end is knowing Christ personally, and the Bible is a means to that end. So is going to church; so make sure you are doing that also.
If you do these things and there is still no life in your soul or love for the Scriptures, then you will have to consider the possibility that you still need to be converted. If that is the case, there is still hope for you to repent and put your faith in Christ. There are many M.Div. students who have been converted after graduation and even in the ministry!
Please avoid allowing commentaries to do your Bible study for you. And by all means, don’t miss Christ. The end of that road is not a pleasant one.