Bibles aren’t meant to be studied or memorized
The early believers didn’t do any private bible studies. There are no exhortations to study or memorize the scriptures in bibles. Only once are they commanded to be read corporately (1 Timothy 4:13), and Paul was only talking to an apostolic leader, not to a congregation in general.
Bible study is like studying a map. Its purpose is to get you to a destination. It points to a reality. But once that destination and reality is reached, the map is no longer needed. It fulfilled its purpose. People can study and discuss the map all their life, or even memorize it, but never know and experience the reality. Many mistake the bible for the reality itself, thinking there is Truth in it. It can be used as a medium for God to communicate truth through, but Truth is not in it. Truth is only pointed to. Truth is a reality – the reality of Jesus Christ, the living person in us.
The idea of bible studies is silly because the scriptures were never written to be studied. Paul didn’t write what he did so that the recipients would spend the rest of their lives picking apart every little word he wrote. This is the attitude that the Pharisees took on, but look where it got them! Only intellectual knowledge can be gained by studying bibles, but Holy Spirit provides revelation.
Bible memorization takes verses out of context and treats them as truth. It can also be used, intentionally or not, as a form of brainwashing, whereby a particular interpretation is attached to certain verses so that those verses are equated in a person’s mind with the truth of that interpretation. This is partially why we see christians posting a bible verse in response to something as if their citation is the end-all proof of their position. It also shows lack of trust in Holy Spirit regularly speaking to us and leading us into all truth. Instead, there is a reliance upon manual recall of verses memorized to be “led.”
Under the Old Covenant there was the Law written in a book. But now it is written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). What was external has been made internal.
The Protestant clergy have rescued the Bible from the darkness of papal libraries and have scattered it abroad over the whole earth. They have exalted it in the highest terms of human praise. They have studied, commented, and explained, nay even tortured every word, phrase, and expression in the original and translations, for every possible interpretation. The result is that Christianity is smothered in theology and criticism: the truths of revelation are wire-drawn and spun and twisted into the most fantastical shapes human fancy or human logic can devise. A system of technical Divinity has been constructed which rivals the complexity of all the machinery of the Romish church. – Stephen Colwell