Bible Reading vs. Bible Study: Which one is more important?

Jana Carlson

Jana Carlson

Which one is more important - Bible reading or Bible study? Read the Bible for breadth, study it for depth. Learn how and why in this post.

I think most people mistakenly believe that Bible study is better than Bible reading. We tend to feel “more spiritual” when we’re studying the Bible rather than just reading it.

Bible reading is for breadth. Bible study is for depth. We really do need both!

Knowing your Bible both “deep” and “wide” is valuable and enriching. Bible reading and Bible study are twin disciplines; they complement each other. When you only immerse yourself in one for long periods of time, you’ll miss out on some of the rewards of the other.

I Used to Just Read the Bible

As a child, I read the Bible. For most of my life, a made a sincere effort to read my Bible every day. After years of diligence, I still felt spiritually illiterate. I didn’t understand the continuous thread of God’s story from Genesis through Revelation. There was a serious disconnect in my heart from what I was reading. And my mind sensed that there were major gaps in my understanding.

I got my first taste of real Bible study in a youth small group. Our youth pastor led us through a verse-by-verse study of the book of James. This stirred up in my heart an insatiable appetite for more. But I didn’t learn how to study the Bible on my own for several more years.

That study in James was enough to get me reading entire books of the Bible instead of the “lottery” method of letting my Bible fall open and reading wherever my eyes landed, or simply reading the recommended passage from a devotional book. As I read more Scripture in context, my understanding of the message of this priceless Book grew.

How Reading the Bible Impacts My Study of the Bible

Today, I love spending time in in-depth Bible study, but it wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable if I didn’t also spend time simply reading it. My Bible reading informs my studying by exposing me to recurring themes and keeping the timeline of God’s story at the forefront of my mind. I make connections from one book to another, from the New Testament to the Old Testament.

My study is enriched by my reading, and my reading is enriched by my study.

Real World Bible Study

This week, I’m privileged to be a guest writer at Real World Bible Study. I’m talking about:

  • What Bible reading is,
  • How to read the Bible for breadth,
  • Which translation to read,
  • How to decide what parts of the Bible to read, and
  • What Bible study is.

When you click through and read the rest of my post over there, you’ll be surprised by how much of the Bible you can read in just 5 minutes a day!

Then you can come back here to learn a simple method of studying the Bible for yourself.

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