By David J. Riggs

   A. Ignorance of what the Bible actually says is very prevalent in 
      our time.
      1. It was also very prevalent in the O.T. era. Hos. 4:6
      2. Hosea was writing to people who should have known God's
      3. They had rejected knowledge and forgotten God's law. Jer.
   B. Are God's people any better today?
      1. Some in the Lord's church are inexcusably ignorant of the
   C. What we all need is deep, serious, diligent study of God's holy
      1. In this lesson, let's look as some reasons, excuses, or
         hindrances which keep people from studying the Bible as
         they should.
      2. Our purpose for studying these is that we might watch and
         avoid them.

   A. All the excuses and hindrances which we will mention can be put
      under this heading.
      1. One's attitude toward Bible study is his "set of sail" as to
         his learning.
         a. "One ship sails east, another west
            By the self same wind that blows.
            'Tis the set of the sail, and not the gale
            That determines the way it goes."
   B. Many do not study because they have no desire to do so. They
      see no need for studying. They don't want to study. Prov. 17:16
      1. A knowledge of God is a very precious commodity and we
         should diligently seek to obtain it. Prov. 23:23
   C. Many are wilfully ignorant of the Bible. They choose to forget
      what the Bible teaches. 2 Pet. 3:5
      1. Many love darkness rather than light. John 3:19-21

   A. Many people go to the Bible simply to justify a practice or
      doctrine they already have.
      1. They do not go there to learn from God.
      2. Their purpose is not to learn the truth.
   B. Man has sought to justify everything under the sun from the    
     Bible - social drinking, adulterous marriages, traditions and   
     doctrines of men galore.
   C. This was Balaam's problem and the reason the angel of God was
      sent to kill him.
      1. Num. 22:12 - This should have been the end of the matter
         once for all.
      2. However, he wanted to "see what more the Lord had to
         say." Num. 22:19 
      3. Many people are like this today. Instead of accepting a very
         plain passage which reveals the truth, they want to "see    
         what more the Lord has to say."

   A. Many people have been told that the Bible is a dark and
      mysterious book. 
      1. For example, their church practices sprinkling or pouring
         water as a mode for baptism, but the Bible teaches
         immersion or a burial in water. Rom. 6:3-4
      2. Thus, in such matters, instead of rejecting the false       
         teaching of their church, they conclude that the Bible is an
         obscure and difficult book. 
   B. The common people could understand the Lord's teaching. Mark
      12:37; Matt. 13:51
      1. The wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein.    
         Isa. 35:8
      2. Paul said that they wrote nothing other than that which they
         could understand. 2 Cor. 1:13
         a. Certainly, "some" things are hard to be understood. 2
            Pet. 3:16
         b. However, the terms of salvation are for every creature.
            Everyone is expected to understand and obey. Mark
      3. Paul's criteria for understanding is "read." God expects us 
         to understand. Eph. 3:2-5
         a. God expects us to understand. Eph. 5:17

   A. One's sole purpose for studying the Bible should be to learn   
      what to do to please God.
      1. However, one's pride gets in his way. 1 John 2:15-17
      2. One may read and study for bragging purposes or to be
         accepted by a particular group.
      3. This was a problem with the Pharisees. Matt. 23:5; John 5:44
      4. Jehovah's Witnesses like to impress people by indicating    
         they are the only ones who truly study the Bible.
      5. There are those who are ever learning, but never able to
         come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Tim. 3:7

   A. The story is told of a lady who had an unusual mode of Bible
      study which she later had to abandon. She, in early mornings,
      after quickly flipping through pages of the Bible with her eyes
      closed, would bring her finger down on a verse. She would then
      open her eyes, and that verse supposedly was her special God-
      given inspiration and exhortation for that day. One morning as
      she brought her finger down on a verse, it said, "Judas went   
      out and hanged himself." She didn't particularly like that     
      verse, so she thought God would add further instructions if she
      tried again. The next time her finger hit the verse, "Go thou  
      and do likewise." She now being very perplexed on what to do,  
      tries again. The next placement said, "What thou doest, do     
      quickly." Thus, she now had her God given exhortation for that 
      day: Judas went out and hanged himself. Go and do likewise! Do 
      it quickly! 
   B. Many read and study only their favorite passages. 
      1. This is why the book of Psalms was placed in the back of
         some the New Testament publications.
      2. They are not getting a well balanced diet.
         a. We should live by "every" word. Matt. 4:4; Psalm
         b. We need the "meat" as well as the "milk." Heb. 5:11-6:l

   A. Some rely far too much on a particular preacher or teacher.
      1. This is the reason whole churches go into apostasy.
      2. With no true knowledge on the part of the membership, they
         can easily be lead astray. Eph. 4:14; Col. 2:8,18
   B. Many rely far too much on the books of men in their study of
      God's word, on commentaries, study guides, and religious books.
      1. This is the straining of God's Word through another man's
      2. When one relies on man for his study, God's Word is certain
         to be modified and colored by man's limitations and
   C. Some rely far too much on another family member for their
      1. Instead of studying, searching, and learning for themselves,
         they simply ask their companion or parents.
      2. With a steady dose of this for many years, one family might
         be very knowledgeable while the other is very ignorant of   
         the Bible.

   A. If we are too busy for Bible study, we need to do some
      rearranging and rescheduling.
      1. We always think that we will have more time for Bible study
         later. We can always say that we will start tomorrow, but
         tomorrow never comes.
      2. Some can really "cry on another's shoulder" when it comes
         to making excuses for not studying the Bible.
      3. Will God accept you petty excuses? Luke 14:16-24
         a. We must somehow work in time for Bible study.
   B. Television is a great robber of our time. Here is another      
      Version of "The 23rd Channel."
      The TV is my shepherd, I shall not want.
      It makes me lie down on the sofa.
      It leads me away from the Scriptures.
      It destroys my soul.
      It leads me in the paths of sex and violence for the sponsor's
      Yea, though I walk in the shadow of my Christian               
         responsibilities, there will be no interruption for the TV  
         is with me.
      It prepares a commercial before me in the presence of my
      It anoints my head with humanism.
      My coveting runneth over.
      Surely laziness and ignorance shall follow me all the days of  
         my life;
     And I will dwell in the house of Satan forever. (Author Unknown)

   A. All other excuses and hindrances take their death toll on our  
      Bible study; however, this one probably does so more than any  
      1. The reason many of us do not study as we should is just     
         plain old laziness. We are simply too lazy to get the job   
   B. Study of the Bible requires great diligence. We must have      
      strong self discipline. 
      1. The lazy get nowhere. Prov. 6:6-11 
         a. Those lazy in Bible study will reap spiritual poverty. 
   C. I know of no cure for this except to give warning that the lazy
      person will not enter heaven. James 4:17
      1. Also, I exhort the lazy person to strive to do better. Luke
         13:24; 2 Tim. 2:15

   A. Satan has many devices to hinder us.
   B. Let us see the need and urgency for Bible study and be diligent
      in it.
   C. In our next lesson we hope to lay out some basics for a good
      Bible study program, and for good Bible study habits.

1. Improper attitude.

2. Seeking to justify oneself or one's doctrine.

3. Reading without expecting to understand.

4. Seeking to impress people.

5. Reading without system.

6. Relying on men for understanding.

7. We become too busy for bible study.

8. Laziness.