Continued from Bible First. …books about the Bible are damaging if they are our primary input. Why? 2 Peter 1:20 – 21 tells us that the Holy Spirit authored the Bible through the agency of men. When we come to the Scripture we are interacting with what the Spirit has authored through these men. That is not the case when we are reading what another man has written about the Bible. What we are reading there is the result of their interaction with the Text. In a sense it is the milk, predigested and processed protein, which the writer of Hebrews talks about in Hebrews 5:11 – 14.
Books about the Bible, commentaries, topical studies, have value, immense value, when used correctly. Correctly means we have studied the passage or topic ourselves first and then we see what others have said. When we follow that order, we are coming to the commentaries or books about the Bible not as to a lecture to be fed the truth, but as entering a conversation, on a more equal footing with the writer. The benefit then is that you are processing what the writer is saying through the lens of your study. You are equipped to question what they are saying. You receive the benefits of their gifting as you interact with their study from the foundation of yours. Reading others first, cannot help but color our understanding of the text. Further, it lessens our struggle with the Text. That struggle is crucial. It is in the wrestling with the truth of the Word of God that the ultimate author, the Holy Spirit, engages in leading us into all truth.
This is not easy. However, any effort expended in this way pays more dividends in our life than can be measured.