Is reading the Bible the same thing as spending time with God? Author Beth Moore started an online firestorm of debate last week when she tweeted that "Spending time with God and spending time with the Bible are not the same thing."
"The Bible is the Word of God, crucial to knowing Him, but it's not God," the founder of Living Proof Ministries wrote. "We can study our Bibles till the 2nd coming & leave God completely out of it. We can grow in facts & never grow a whit in faith."
Spending time with God and spending time with the Bible are not the same thing. 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 & leave God completely out of it. We can grow in facts & never grow a whit in faith.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) January 2, 2019
The tweet has drawn thousands of responses. Some users criticized Moore and cited the New Testament's John 1:1 which reads "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Others were blunter. One user wrote: "you're wrong, the word of God is God speaking to us."
Another user responded: "The Pharisees were full of the word and couldn't follow Jesus. Beth is right there are a bunch of examples in the bible where people gave lip service to God but not their heart. They knew His word & actually got better at the calisthenics of religion without growing spiritually."
Moore took the debate in stride responding to several users individually. She also posted two more tweets explaining the point she was trying to make.
"Do not be deceived. 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 wrote.
"I will emphasize once more that my point is NOT studying Scripture less," Moore wrote in her next tweet. "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 Bible study."
Despite her explanation, a couple of ministries also entered the fray, responding to Moore's view.
The Christian Post noted that No Compromise Radio, a ministry of Steve Cooley, tweeted: "When Beth spends time listening to her husband talk to her, too bad that does not count as spending time with him. BTW where is Beth Moore's husband?"
When Beth spends time listening to her husband talk to her, too bad that does not count as spending time with him. BTW where is Beth Moore’s husband?
— No Compromise Radio (@nocoradio) January 3, 2019
And a ministry known as Reformation Charlotte also disagreed with Moore writing on its website:
"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 (Hebrews 1:1Open in Logos Bible Software (if available). 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."