Someone gave me a copy of Kay Arthur’s “Inductive Study” on 1 &2 Timothy and Titus. The study is titled, “Walking in Power, Love, and Discipline,” and shows the authors as Kay Arthur, David Lawson, and Bob Vereen.
Having never had my hands on a Kay Arthur study, I decided to read the book. Overall I think it is a very good study guide, requiring the asking of specific questions which should lead to proper conclusions as to what the passages are saying. I would have no problem with people using such studies -- assuming that other studies are arranged in the same way.
There were some concerns I have, albeit not from a theological point. Let me demonstrate the issues I have with this book (and most likely repeated in the other books):
On page 5: “If you desire to sharpen your study skills, we would like to recommend two things. One, purchase the book How to Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur. Two, attend a Precept Ministries Institute of Training.”
Such self-promotion!!!!! Why couldn’t they also suggest material from other authors, such as Roy B. Zuck’s Basic Bible Interpretation? Why send the person to an “Institute of Training,” which I’m pretty sure won’t be free?
On page 7: They say you will need a Bible you are “willing to mark in.” I disagree. While I began writing in my Bible in fairly recent years, I don’t think writing in a Bible is “needed.” It can be helpful, but one could also just have a notebook. Ah, but then they say, “An ideal Bible for this purpose is The New Inductive Study Bible (NISB).
Guess where this Bible comes from-- Kay Arthur’s Precept Ministries. Couldn’t they just suggest any wide-margin Bible? More self-promotion.
“Whatever Bible you use, just know you will need to mark in it…”
This puts a guilty conscience on the person who doesn’t want to mark their Bible! You DON’T need to mark in it. Going over this course one can make notes in a notebook. Underlining or marking words in the text is not necessary, no matter how many times the book claims otherwise.
On page 8: “As a word of warning, you need to be aware that any time you get into the Word of God, you enter into more intensive warfare with the devil (our enemy). Why? Every piece of the Christian’s armor is related to the Word of God. And the enemy doesn’t want you prepared for battle. Thus, the warfare! Remember that our one and only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and it is enough to fell the enemy.”
Wow, what a scare tactic! This claim is not supported by Scripture! It is not necessarily true that you will “enter more intensive warfare with the devil” -- this is just an assertion by the writers of this text. I guess this is not surprising, since Arthur promotes false teacher Neil Anderson and his aberrant spiritual warfare ideology.
On page 14: “If you want to do a more in-depth study of a particular book of the Bible, we suggest you do a Precept Upon Precept Bible Study Course on that book. The Precept studies are awesome but require five hours of personal study per week.”
More shameless self-promotion. They could have suggested their own AMONG others, but this continual self-promotion makes the book not only a study guide but also a full-fledged advertisement for Kay Arthur materials.
On page 108: “Just think of what would happen if you would study this course with a group of people who want to take their Christianity seriously? It would be awesome because there would be more of you to live out the truths you are about to discover, and together you would have a far greater impact. So if you are not doing this in a group study, ask God whom you are to ask to join you--either in person, over the telephone, in a couple’s study, or over the Internet. Then watch what God does in just three short weeks.”
Such hyperbole! So if they don’t want to do these studies, is the implication that they don’t “want to take their Christianity seriously”? And just because they learn the truths, that doesn’t mean they will apply them! Asking God to tell you who you are supposed to ask to join you implies three things: 1) that God wants someone to join you, 2) you can expect a direct revelation with the information, and 3) that God will do something (what if all He does is just allow the study and nothing else?) This really puts a guilt trip on the person who is doing the study alone, let alone leave them wondering why God doesn’t speak directly to them! Again, I guess this is not surprising when one considers Kay Arthur’s claims of direct revelation from God and back and forth discussions with Him.
On page 109: “Are there men in your church who are upsetting church families through their actions, speech, and beliefs?”
Um, what about women doing the same?
Advertisements are fine, but they are usually found in their own sections, such as at the back of the book--just like those at the back of this book! The shameless advertising in the text is manipulative, as are the comments about studying with someone else and asking God to tell you who!
In addition to the two problematic issues with Kay noted above (promotion of Neil Anderson and claims of direct revelation), I have to point out other concerns about her which may eventually show up in her studies (if not already doing so): 1) She has shared the stage with false teachers and those with bad teachings, 2) she hobnobs with those in the emergent crowd, 3) other general issues demonstrating lack of discernment.
So while Kay Arthur’s study guides may be beneficial, you might seek similar teachings from someone not carrying the baggage Arthur carries.