This evening one of these people was complaining about a sore toe they got while rock climbing. Rock climbing is definitely not a pain free endeavor. You push yourself, hard, to the point of failure. One of the books I read when I was getting into the sport said you have not reached your limit until you find yourself bouncing at the end of your rope and you do not remember how you got there.
One of the guys in the shop remarked after this individual left that doing the things we promote in the shop push us into an another level of being, in that it stretches us beyond what we think we can do.
He is a believer. So I said to him in response, “Like Bible study?” He looked at me bemused, I assured him I was not joking. He then acknowledged that, yes, that is exactly what Bible study does.
It seems to me that at times some believers want to engage with the Bible much in the same way some of those customers want to engage in painless backpacking or rock climbing. They want to say they did it, but they do not want to expend the enormous amount of effort it takes to get good at it. They do not want the blisters, the skinned knees, the cuts and bruises, the panic of getting lost in a wilderness, or the fatigue of carrying a heavy pack up a steep trail for 5 hours. They just want to say they have.
Getting good at Bible study is a lot like getting good at anything else that takes effort. It takes time, diligence, practice, and coaching. In outdoor adventures, one can hire people to carry your load. You can hire a guide to lead you through the wilderness so you do not get lost. You can get someone to plan the menu, and figure out the logistics and the gear. You can experience the wilderness in that manner.
Or you can learn to do all of that yourself.
There are several orders of magnitude difference in the experiences of those who hire the guides and those who learn to do for themselves.