Reblog from Dr. Michael Heiser: Why You Don’t Learn Much Bible in Church

One of the podcasts I discovered in my study of Leviticus, which is ongoing, was the Naked Bible Podcast with Bible scholar, Dr. Michael Heiser, and his layman assistant, Trey Stricklin.

Heiser is one of the many voices I listen to about biblical questions and context, and his actual passion and faith are things I sometimes forget about because his lectures get very academic and dense.  I love the nerd part of Heiser’s work, but that leads me to occasionally forget that this is a man who has deep love and loyalty for God, as well.

He posted this blog article back in 2014, but it’s new to me, and the title got me.  I’m very new to corporate worship, and I am grateful to say that my church is very Bible-heavy compared to most others I’ve attended.  The sermons are based on more than 2 verses, and the entire church has access to various small groups that expand on the scriptural basis for the previous Sunday’s sermon each week.  Our senior pastor and our brand new associate pastor are both well beyond biblically literate, and my senior pastor has been open and inviting whenever I had questions that needed answering from some book or other of Scripture.  He has also been instrumental in encouraging me to keep “wrestling with the Word.”  I’m not sharing this because I have a complaint about my church.  I’m sharing it because I have deep and dreadful concerns about the church.

That said, I really believe that Dr. Heiser is right about very important things in this article.  If you have the time, please do read his post on this issue.  It is an unapologetic rant, and I share his frustration.  I mean, it is this very frustration that led me to start writing down everything I study in a public way.  I came here because I want to reach out and pull in fellow Christians from wherever they may be and study the Bible with them.  Anyway.  The article is great.

Follow the link below the excerpt to read his article in full.

BEGIN EXCERPT from Dr. Michael Heiser Originally Posted on The Naked Bible Blog:

Naked Bible Blog Logo

Just a heads up — this is another Naked Bible rant.

Short answer: It’s by design. For the longer answer, keep reading.

I came across a troubling, but completely predictable, article today by Mark Galli, an editor at Christianity Today, entitled “Yawning at the Word.” It’s about something of which I and my readers are acutely aware: the low tolerance for biblical content in church. If you go to the link you can read the essay in its entirety only if you subscribe to CT. I therefore can’t reproduce the article here, but I’m going to quote from it for the purposes of interaction.

Galli opens this way:

When I preach, I often quote the Bible to drive home my point. I think it more persuasive to show that what I’m saying is not merely my opinion but a consistent theme of Scripture. And to avoid the impression that I’m proof-texting or lifting verses out of context, I quote longer passages—anywhere from 2 to 6 verses.

When I did this at one church, a staff member whom I’d asked for feedback between services told me to cut down on the Scripture quotations. “You’ll lose people,” he said.

What struck me here was the “longer passages” line — defined as 2 to 6 verses. For those the author had in mind I can only say don’t visit this blog.  If you lose focus after 2-6 verses I’ll (gladly) put you in a coma.

The author is correct, though. Most of you who come to [The Naked Bible Blog] and others for biblical content do so because you’re starving in your church. The reason typically isn’t that your pastor doesn’t know anything or is too lazy to study…read more at the original posting site.


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