Beth Moore, a popular Bible teacher, author and evangelist recently launched a fiery debate among believers pertaining to the definition of what it means to “spend time with God.”
Many believe reading the Bible equates with spending time with God. After all, God’s Word is a tangible connection to God given to believers and nonbelievers alike. However, Moore claims simply reading the Bible doesn’t equate to time spent with God.
“Spending time with God and spending time with the Bible are not the same thing,” Moore tweeted. “The Bible is the Word of God, crucial to knowing Him, but it’s not God. We can study our Bibles till the 2nd coming and leave God completely out of it. We can grow in facts and never grow a whit in faith.”
After the initial tweet, thousands responded. Some criticized her view, citing John 1:1, which reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Of course, this point showcases that God is Himself actually within the Word.
Still, others had a different reaction and defended Moore’s opinion. In reaction to the immense debate her tweet caused, Moore added two more tweets to clarify her original point.
“Do not be deceived,” Moore followed up. “People who study the Scriptures constantly and are continually mean-spirited, rude, slanderous and, aside their religious rhetoric, bereft of outward evidences of the Holy Spirit are having Bible study without God. He affects us. You can take that to the bank.”
She added: “I will emphasize once more that my point is NOT studying Scripture less. I am a proponent of daily Bible study. It’s my practice. My life work and my delight. My point is that we need God in our study of His Word. I’m just saying, don’t leave Jesus out of the Bible study.”
Moore’s point is somewhat understandable if considered in a certain way. After all, studying the Bible with only a desire to learn history, not gain direction from God, makes it less effective. However, there were many in the fellowship of believers who still didn’t appreciate Moore’s point, even after the attempted clarification. One example of this was the ministry Reformation Charlotte.
“Well, in her world, spending time with God consists of fanciful dreams of being lifted up in the air while being told by God that He’s going to unite all sectors of Christendom, or strange moments of meeting a woman at a random bus stop just to give her a handful of cash because, you know, God told her to go there and stuff,” the ministry said.
“Of course, spending time in Scripture is the same thing as spending time with God. You cannot know God any other way. It’s how He speaks to us as stated in Hebrews 1:1. Yes, you can spend time with Him in prayer as well, and you can spend time with Him in worship. But what she’s saying is essentially the same thing as saying that listening to your parents speak to you is not the same thing as spending time with them. The Scriptures are God’s full and complete revelation to us. It informs all matters of our faith in Him, including our prayer and worship.”
It’s somewhat ironic that Moore is herself the founder of Living Proof Ministries, which is a ministry dedicated to encouraging people to come to know and love Jesus Christ through the study of Scripture.
It’s worth noting that Moore’s comment was perhaps taken out of context. The criticism she endured, though, might be warranted, because reading the Bible is a powerful way to grow closer to God. Many believers and nonbelievers have experienced the power of God simply by reading the passages.
As it says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
That’s pretty straight forward. The Bible is powerful, and reading the God inspired words written within should most assuredly count as spending time with God.
~ 1776 Christian