Do You LIKE the Bible; or Just Study It?

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Do You LIKE the Bible; or Just Study It?

This guest post was contributed by Keith Ferrin, public speaker, writer, Biblical storyteller and founder of That You May Know Ministries.

I didn’t like the Bible for the first 20 years I was a Christian. Ok…that might be a bit of an overstatement. (But not by much.)

The first several years I really liked it. After all, I was in elementary school. And in elementary school, they only tell you the really cool stories. You know the ones:

  • God Speaks…Everything Appears
  • Brother Sold Into Slavery Becomes Prince
  • Bush Burns Without Burning…and Talks
  • Runaway Prophet Has 3-Day Quiet Time Inside Huge Fish
  • Messiah Spends First Night On Earth in a Feeding Trough
  • Sack Lunch Goes a Looooong Way
  • Messiah Heals Blind Man with Spit and Mud

Cool stories. Stories that really fly on a Flannel Graph. (Did I just date myself?)

But then came Junior High. Now I was supposed to read it – on my own. Now I was supposed to study it. Now I was supposed to have my own “quiet time.”

I tried. I really did.

I would pick up my Bible, read my chapter-a-day, and try to see what I could “get out of it.” Some days it was really cool. I would see something that I hadn’t seen before or felt like I understood something that had confused me in the past. But not every day. In fact, not very frequently at all.

Bottom line: I believed the Bible was true. I just didn’t like it very much.

I thought that I would like it more when I got into High School. Then I got to High School. I thought to myself, “Hmmm…maybe when I get to college I’ll like it more. After all, in college you become a deep thinker.” Then came college. No change. Except I thought that I would like it more once I got out of college. But not much changed then either – even though I was a full-time youth pastor!

I believed the Bible. I studied the Bible. I actually really liked teaching the Bible. But I still didn’t enjoy sitting down and reading the Bible.

Then came the spring of 1993. A guy named Bruce Kuhn (www.brucekuhn.com) was coming to a local church where a friend of mine was the youth pastor. Bruce had memorized the entire gospel of Luke. Yep…the whole thing.

He got up on stage alone. No other actors. No sets. No props. And he quoted it. He didn’t just stand there like I did as a frightened 8-year-old quoting John 3:16 in front of “big church.” He lived it. He told the stories. They came alive!

That night, the living Word of God went from being a phrase to a reality.

Little did I know that God was changing my entire perspective on the Bible…and my life in ministry. I got to know Bruce and heard him talk about “hanging out” in a section of Scripture and “soaking” in a passage until he knew it. That summer, I did exactly that with Paul’s letter to the Philippians. And I loved it!

As I look back on those few months and really ponder the shifts that helped me fall in love with God’s Word, I can boil it down to two:

I shifted my mindset from informational Bible study to relational Bible study.

This is huge. And it’s not semantics.

I hear people talk all the time about having a “relationship” with Jesus. But how often are you thinking about that relationship when you read the Bible. I didn’t think about it much at all before 1993. When I opened my Bible, I was there to learn something – or to be challenged, inspired, comforted, or even corrected.

Certainly every one of these still take place when I read the Bible. But the overarching mindset is one of relationship. I am there to learn something by having a conversation with God. I am there to be challenged by God, inspired by God, comforted by God – and yes – corrected by God.

I am with Him in His Word – not just learning about Him.  When Paul tells the people in Ephesus what and how he has been praying for them he says, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” (Eph 1:17, NIV, emphasis added) Not just know about Him, but know Him. This is the essence of relational Bible study. Could you imagine if you approached one of your friends the same way that so many of us approach our time in God’s Word? We would spend a few minutes listening to what they have to say. Then we would ask our 5-10 questions for that day. Once the “blanks” were all filled in, we would stand up and walk away. Yikes! Not very relational.Next time you pickup your Bible, ask God to help you know Him better, not just know about Him.

I shifted from memorization to internalization.

Memorization is something people at church, Sunday school, vacation Bible school, and summer camp have talked about since I was a kid. (Most of the time it had something to do with earning a sticker or piece of candy.) However, I don’t ever remember a time when someone had me talk through it in my own words before quoting it back to them.

People ask me about memorizing Bible verses all the time. After all, a large part of what I do for a living is travel to churches, conferences and universities to present whole books of the Bible word-for-word. Yet sadly, most of these conversations pretty quickly lead to a discussion about how to get the words in the right order.

Is that really the point? Is that truly God’s desire for you and me? To be able to quote back the words on the pages of His Living Word? I certainly hope not!

The goal should always be to know the Word – not just know the words.

That is the crux of internalization. All throughout Psalm 119, the psalmist writes:

  • “I have hidden your word in my heart…” (verse 11)
  • “Your statutes are my delight.” (verse 24)
  • “Let me understand…then I will meditate…” (verse 27)
  • “Give me understanding and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.” (verse 34)
  • “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” (verse 97)

Hidden…Delight…Understand…Meditate…Love. These don’t happen with memorization alone. Memorization is certainly one element of internalization. It helps us meditate on the Word. Ponder it. Think about it. Pray through it. Live it out.

But how can we really meditate on it if we don’t know it? If our primary focus is remembering the next word or phrase, how can we be in a conversation with God? God never intended memorization to be the place to start…or end! We start – and end – with fully engaging in a relationship with the Living God.

Two shifts. Relational Bible Study and Internalization.

As I made these two shifts, my love for God and His Word skyrocketed. Ironically, once I started liking the Bible, I was blown away at how much easier it was to be consistent, study it more deeply, and let it shape me to become a little more like Jesus every day.

About The Author
Keith Ferrin
Keith Ferrin
Keith Ferrin founded That You May Know Ministries and has been doing dramatic presentations of Scripture since March of 1996. Keith has presented around the United States and Europe at conferences, churches, universities, Christian schools, military bases, outreach events, and various camps and retreats. Keith graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a degree in Psychology. He also holds a Masters of Education in Guidance and Counseling, and worked for two years asan elementary school counselor. He received dramatic training working privately with Terry Edward Moore, co-founder of the Seattle Shakespeare Festival. Keith is the author of Falling in Love with God’s Word and Like Ice Cream and has been utilized as a speaker for retreats, conferences, outreach events, and fundraisers. His practical, humorous, and thought provoking style makes the Word come alive for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. From December of 1991 to August of 1997, Keith was a youth and worship pastor in Tacoma, Washington. Since then, That You May Know Ministries has been his primary vocation. Keith also enjoys coaching individuals and teams in the areas of communication and public speaking. He does this through his other company - True Success Coaching, LLC. Keith and his wife Kari live near Seattle with their three children.
67 Comments
Leave a response
  • Cristina Mansilla
    October 3, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Adoro mi biblia, sin mi biblia, no podría vivir…

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  • Dennis Agosto
    October 3, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I love the word of GOD

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  • Mary Murphy
    October 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I LOVE the Bible, and studying it:0) When you read Holy Scripture, it is like spending time with God. So many many times, even when reading something I’ve read a thousand times, there are deeper nuances that I was not aware of when last I read it…

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  • Mary Murphy
    October 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

    God is eternal, and so is His word.

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  • Frederick Bryant
    October 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

    god said it, man wrote it under His inspiration, I read it, I believe it, nothing more to say! I shall not I shall not be moved!

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  • William Hill
    October 3, 2012 at 11:41 am

    study it and pray for his leading while in Gods word always.

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  • Penny Joy Pizzoli Rayfield
    October 3, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I brush my teeth with Him and everything else. I don’t just think about Him when I read His word. He’s in all I do even the yukky stuff.

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  • David Smith
    October 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

    like and study.

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  • Lois Tupponce
    October 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Love and study

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  • Yvette Stephens Wallace
    October 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    study and live it.

    0
  • Lakisha ImsoBlessed Williams
    October 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    STUDY IT

    0
  • Yvette ReDeemed
    October 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    i

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  • Keith Ferrin
    October 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Great comments. When I started LOVING it and studying it – instead of JUST studying it – everything changed. The relationship is central to my time WITH God in HIS Word. Beautiful.

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  • Jane Shinohara
    October 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I do,very much it is my heart and soul that my mind guidance. in peace. love word of God’s covenant.

    0
  • Laura Lowe
    October 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    i would starve without it

    0
  • Mary Ann Hazelwood
    October 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Amen , The king of king , Is my everything. Walking and talking together, !!!!!!!

    0
  • Glenda Stine
    October 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I love his word and all that God teaches me each and everyday from his word.

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  • Robert Rigsby
    October 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    AMEN!

    0
  • Karen James
    October 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    LORD, help me? And I thank YOU.

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  • Keith Ferrin
    October 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Question: WHEN did you start loving it and WHAT lead you beyond simply believing it and into loving it? Anyone?

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  • Maryjane Watson
    October 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    When I realized God’s continued provision even as He administered righteous judgement.

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  • Joan Newkirk
    October 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    amen

    0
  • Valeria Battle
    October 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Amen!!!

    0
  • William E. Hall
    October 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    yep

    0
  • Patricia Diane Brooks
    October 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I love the Bible and have studied it extesively!

    0
  • Al Hopkins
    October 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    INTERESTING STORIES .

    0
  • Lynwood Norris
    October 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I LOVE KING JAMES VERSION AND READ IT WHEN I CAN!

    0
  • Ginny Cook
    October 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I don’t read the Bible but your right I’m going to start reading His word…………………

    0
  • Milton Stanfield
    October 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Makes one think a little harder

    0
  • Rochelle Walker
    October 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    i dont feel right when i dont read the word of god, im going to start back reading everyday like i use to.

    0
  • Claudia Higbie-Payne
    October 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    It’s His LOVE LETTER to us….His Instructions(if we follow them) are for OUR OWN GOOD. 🙂 HE LOVES US!:)

    0
  • Tamera Bolger Murdock
    October 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Prayer time and study time each day since I was 4 years old – am almost 71 today.

    0
  • Sheila White
    October 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    amen so am I

    0
  • Cynthia Pennington Zeh
    October 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Jesus is the Word in flesh,IF we’ve accepted Him and asked Him into our hearts His Spirit is with us while we read the Word and everywhere we go.I read it,meditate upon it and live it to the best of my ability (of course sometimes I make mistakes or fall on my face and I repent and get up and walk again) sometimes as Christians we don’t walk in His Spirit but our own,when we get our eyes off Him,that’s where we run into problems….

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  • Diane Andrews
    October 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Read the Bible in Church and always talking with GOD……..

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  • Linda A Varella
    October 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Your wonderful post has put into words very thought-provoking questions?? Thank you and God bless you Trochia.~Pastor Linda~

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  • Nancy Gray
    October 3, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I LOVE THE WORD OF GOD.

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  • Daniel Yarbrough
    October 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    like

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  • Laura Richards
    October 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Love it.

    0
  • Laura Richards
    October 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    He speaks to us through HIS word.

    0
  • Dolores Butler
    October 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    The Bible is my Daily Planner!!!

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  • Dennis Scott
    October 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I LIKE IT, I STUDY IT, I LOVE IT.****GOOD POST TROCHIA

    0
  • Glenda Marie Fulmer Johnson
    October 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I READ AND STUDY THE BIBLE IT CAN TEACH YOU A LOT OF THINGS AMEN

    0
  • KeithFerrin
    October 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I love hearing the “heart” come through in so many of your comments. Some have loved it for decades. Others just a short while. Others long to love it. Such good, good news that we serve a faithful God who meets us where we are and leads us, walks beside us, and encourages us along the way. So encouraged to see all that you’ve written here. My heart is full.

    0
  • Norma Flint
    October 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I love the word and what I receive from it

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  • Gaynell Freeman
    October 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    so true,

    0
  • David Hanby
    October 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    i like the bible i feel better just reading it

    0
  • James B. Dant
    October 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    This is the way I see it. When you open the Bible and read the Word of God you are conversing and in a very close relationship with Jesus. The Word became flesh and we beheld his glory as the only begotten of the Father full of truth and grace. Question me if I am wrong. The Word is every word spoken in the Old Testament. God took those words and placed them in the womb of Mary. Mary being a woman that gives the womb as the room for a baby to grow produced what ever a woman produces to make the flesh that cover4ed all those word became the child called Jesus the Messiah. The Revivalist

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  • Reader R. George Bailey
    October 3, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    So, what did the Church and all the Christians do for the 300 years when we didn’t have a complete Bible like we are used to having today. Most people couldn’t read and there no printing presses. All Bibles were hand copied in Greek. Jesus Christ IS the WORD, not some ink on paper. A relationship with Jesus Christ and His very Body on Earth, His Holy Church, is what is important. The vast majority of Christians who ever lived never owned a Bible they could read, but they had Faith from hearing the Word and Communing His True Body and Blood through His Holy Church.

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  • Manuel Bonilla
    October 3, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    amen

    0
  • Renna J Person-Fabel
    October 4, 2012 at 6:01 am

    me and my daughter do both….when i start reading it I cannot stop….I bought her an action bible which is a lil easier for her to understand when she reads it i go to my bible and read the versus there..I have a hard time remembering them but I know i will get it eventually

    0
  • Elijah Prophecy
    October 4, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Amen

    0
  • Kathleen M Dean
    October 4, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I BEST START FASTING. My morning prayer said that for today. ?

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  • Patricia Elaine Mckinnon
    October 4, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I keep Him with me all day, I start my morning by praiseing His name.

    0
  • Fred D. Gladney
    October 4, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Memorization minus reflective meditation is empty. Focus on Him is key. Thanks Keith. I loved your post !

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  • Eldonna Bryant
    October 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    study of the Bible is a great joy. Your right, it is like hearing God speak to me and when I do this he never fails to give me an epiphany about something I had not realized before, making my understanding even richer!

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  • Sadie Benderman
    October 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Amen!

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  • Nettie Dobrzynski
    October 5, 2012 at 5:11 am

    true

    0
  • MJ
    October 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Keith Ferrin is amazing. I was granted the opportunity to hear him speak at my church. He was talking about his book “Like Ice Cream” and he shared this same story about how to make reading the Bible more interesting. I was shocked to be reading it here on this site today! I am glad that he decided to share this story here to reach a larger audience.

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    • KeithFerrin
      October 10, 2012 at 9:06 am

      Thanks MJ! What church do you attend? Glad to see you’re connected with Trochia. Terrific ministry!

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  • anon
    March 2, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Lol, all I could think when you mentioned this Bruce fellow was “Bruce Almighty!”

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  • LassieMettler
    March 10, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I began to really appreciate the Scriptures after understanding the Hebrew words.  Our English translations are so watered down they are many times downright incorrect.  I learned so much from introtogod.org, yadayah.com and questioningpaul.com

    0
  • October 3, 2013 at 10:30 pm

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    0
  • JDenise Leggett'Parker
    September 18, 2014 at 6:11 am

    Like

    0
  • Deedee Nerios
    September 18, 2014 at 6:12 am

    I love the Bible

    0
  • Kay Tomford
    September 18, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Love the Bible

    0

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