Review of Precepts study – Hebrews, Part 1

I have wanted to do a Precept study for years. I’ve done the Kay Arthur inductive study guides and enjoyed them but longed to dig deeper and do an actual Precept study. It just never worked out to be part of one. Earlier this year when I knew I would not be doing Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) in the Fall, I was eager to finally join a Precept study at a church a few miles from our home. However, they were going to be doing part 2 of Hebrews. So I decided to do part 1 on my own over the summer so I wouldn’t be lost. As I did the study over the summer, I came to the realization that I would not be able to keep up with the Precept study in the fall, as I would be leading a ladies’ study on Wed. mornings and for 6 weeks be also teaching a Sunday School class (not to mention a 2 weeks missions trip). At that point, I decided to continue doing the study even though I wouldn’t be able to continue with it in the fall.
Starting off, I absolutely LOVED the Precept study of Hebrews. The first few weeks involve reading through the whole book of Hebrews several times. This is how Bible study should be! Immersing yourself in the book, getting the full context. But as the study progressed and started digging into the individual chapters, there began to be a lot of cross-referencing. Now cross-referencing is important while studying the Bible; it’s important to compare Scripture with Scripture. But this seemed to be excessive and unnecessary. I finally began skipping some of the cross-referencing, feeling like it was taking away from the Hebrews passage rather than adding to it. As I neared the end of the study, I also noticed that it seemed like the cross-references were being used to push a particular meaning on the passage and to try to steer the studier towards a particular interpretation, rather than letting the text speak for itself. That is a problem with study guides, the theology of the writer can bleed through and affect the person studying.
I wouldn’t necessarily not recommend a Precept study at this point, but I’m not eager to do another one. I would caution when doing one to be mindful of an agenda or particular interpretation being pushed on the passage. It’s important to know how to study the Bible for oneself so one isn’t dependent on others or on study guides to study the Bible. For a brief overview of the inductive study method, here is a series of posts on How to Study the Bible.

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