We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Kay Arthur Bible Study

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.


Jesus Disciple said...

I think you are being a bit over-zealous and/or over-critical. I have had and used her study bible (among others) for many years now will no issues. I think this falls under the category of 'personal opinion/preference' and not a clandestine plot to promote error

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Jesus Disciple,

Did you notice that I said I didn't have a theological issue with the book (except for her claims about the devil on pg.8)? Did you notice that I said it was a "very good study guide”? Did you notice that I said I had no problem with using these study guides as long as they are arranged the same way this one is.

My complaint is about the blatant self-promotions, which have no business there. The numerous books I use will have advertisements for more of the author's and/or publisher's material at the back of the book. When I read books which DO recommend their own material for a particular purpose, they will point to their own material as well as other material of as similar vein.

Another complaint is the claim of the NEED to mark in the bible, rather than make it a suggestion.

The issue described on pg. 108 puts a huge guilt trip on the reader, and I think this is unacceptable from ANY teacher.

So is it really "over-zealous" or "over-critical" to point out these mostly minor problems? I'm telling people they don't HAVE to use her suggested materials - that there are similar materials available. I'm telling people that they don't HAVE TO write in their Bibles regardless of what Kay says. AND I'm letting them know that her scare tactic is nothing to be frightened about.

My main concern is with Kay Arthur herself, and the road she is heading down.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,

For p109, what was the context of her asking that question? You posted something else she said from the previous page, but that doesn't seem to be related.


Martha said...

I attended a Kay Arthur conference, costing me a nice premium from my pocketbook, with all of the other embellishments of labeling themselves as a Christian conference. The fees were high, the hotel room pricey, and the meals were costly as well with a "portion of the meal fee going to missions." We weren't told to bring our own sack lunches, which would have cut the costs somewhat. I purchased a Kay Arthur study pack on her table of self promotion following her last instructional seminar, costing me fifty bucks and never opened it as God, the Holy Spirit, led me to His Word instead of Kay's.

I truly wasn't impressed with her seminars as Jesus was missing from the whole conference. No references to Christ as we were stuck back into the Old Testament with no regard for Christ under the New Covenant. She promoted herself far above Jesus and frankly, this turned me off of ever attending another conference ever again. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is free, free indeed, but the things of man cost many pennies.


Martha said...

And Glen, I have shared this before on other Christian blogs, how the whole concept on making money/profiting off of God's Word is nowhere to be found in our Scriptures.
Using God for personal fortunes is absent from His Ways.


If I am wrong on this one, then it's time to add Jesus' name to my personal inventory to profit riches.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

HI Carolyn,

Well, in relation to the instructions in regards to leadership qualifications, it was about leadership handling problems in the assembly. The question was in regards to whether such men were being corrected; I just thought it was funny that she didn't say "men or women" in the question.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Thank you so much for that testimony of your experience. Perhaps readers will take heed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,

Oh, ok, that makes sense. Yes, she should have said men and women causing problems in the assembly. Thanks for the context.

Martha - for the most part, I am in agreement with you. Generally, these conferences, and all their books, etc, all of it just cost so much, and most of it is about the prominence of the speaker. Like you, my husband and I learn for free from the Bible, with the Holy Spirit teaching us.

That said, I have enjoyed going to creation science conferences to learn about the scientific information that is in alignment with the truth of Scripture. In this case, the information is extra Biblical (meaning we don't learn specific information about things like DNA from the Bible), yet shows that good science always is in alignment with the Bible.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...


I just want to note that I've attended several conferences over the years. Mostly apologetics conferences, and the ones Personal Freedom Outreach put on ran Thursday afternoon to Saturday afternoon. They cost a bit, but were well worth it, including the need for two nights in a motel. Other conferences close by were fairly inexpensive and we could go home for the night, while some others were just one overnight. I guess it depends on the type of conference and what you expect to get out of it. Here's what we've attended, and were very satisfied with (PFO's conferences: we first learned about them too late for 2000, and their last one was 2012 due to expenses and low attendance)

May 1998 Three day Roger Oakland conference on general apologetics, local venue.
April 2002 PFO Biblical Discernment (general apologetics) conference in Florissant, MO
November 2002 2-day Biblical Counselors conference in Florissant, MO
April 2004 PFO conference, Florissant, MO
February 2005, 2-day EMNR apologetics conference in Kansas City, MO
April 2005, 2-day Biblical Counselors conference, Fairview Heights, IL
April 2006 PFO conference, Florissant, MO
April 2007, 2-day Biblical counselors conference, Fairview Heights, IL
April 2008, PFO conference, Florissant, MO
April 2010, PFO Conference, St. Charles, MO
April 2012 PFO conference, St. Charles, MO
February 2015, 2-day Intelligent Faith conference, local venue
April 2016, 2-day Intelligent Faith Conference, local venue
May 2016, 2-Day EMNR apologetics conference, Palatine, IL.

These conferences all have numerous teachers/speakers rather than just one headliner.

Martha said...

Thank-you for sharing your experiences Carolyn and Glen. I am not here to manipulate others in thinking my way and won't condemn you for attending your chosen conferences. I am reminded though, through God's very Word, that people by the multitudes came to see Jesus speak, and I don't recollect that His conferences fees were pricey.

I have had far too many conservative church folks within the visible church make me feel guilty for not attending their favorite conferences, for not ooing and ahhing over their favorite preachers and speakers, for not having my children attend their favorite pricey private Christian colleges, and for not following the people they recommend I should listen too. During one of the first visits in attending my former Baptist church, I had never heard of Trinity Broadcasting Network, or any of the names on the evangelical traveling conference scene; I was reading and studying my Bible only, thank-you very much at that time. Apparently the women of that particular pious system decided that I wasn't saved by Jesus, and began their agenda of getting me indoctrinated into their brand of religion.

The prayer chain leader bought me a book on prayer by a man named Larry Huck, then another woman wanted me to follow Joel Osteen, so she taped his programs from the television and gave them to me in the form of VCR tapes. And if that wasn't enough, then that same woman bought me Joel's book "Your Best Life Now" and gave me the study guide to go with it. Another woman wanted to get rid of her Joel Osteen conference tickets and pressured me to buy them from her. Did I mention the word BUY...yes...buy tickets to attend Joel's conference. Oh my. Then another woman pressured me into sending my children to Ron Luce's Teen Mania "Acquire the Fire." And we did that which cost another pretty penny and done before I could look up what Ron's theology consisted of. And others invited me to join them on their travel bus to Benny Hinn's healing so I could get a fresh dose of being "drunk in the spirit."

All of this sad truth led me into looking up these discernment ministries via the internet so I could begin learning what all of these important religious people believed, especially since the church folks said I should follow these individuals and their so called ministries. Praises be to our LORD for some excellent resources that work diligently in exposing many of the wolves in sheep's clothing, falsely representing themselves as disciples/followers of Christ.

I did however, attend a Worldview Conference featuring Brannon Howse, enjoying it tremendously. There were no ticket fees as it was free and I drove alone to his conference, enjoyed the singing of hymns, learned about the various worldviews as compared to our Biblical worldview, and drove five hours home again after the fellowship. I felt no pressure to purchase anything from his table, and during the offering time to cover his expenses, it was actually a joy to help him in his ministry in sharing the Gospel, which he also did. A clear, concise Gospel message is a message that we all need to hear on a regular basis, and I left there, with peace and joy in my heart.

May consider attending an apologetics conference; always love to learn from the Word of our LORD.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Oh, yeah, I went to a "Code Blue Rally," which is a one-night Worldview Weekend, and Brannon Howse is good! Main speakers there were Norm Geisler and Janet Folger.

Anonymous said...

No worries, Martha, I didn't think you were manipulating or condemning anyone, and I'm certainly not in the least bit interested in doing that to you, either!


Diane Schultz said...

Fairview Heights is just a bit north of Belleville, where I live! Glenn, please let me know the next time you're in Fairview Heights - maybe we can go to lunch! I work in downtown St. Louis, 2 blocks from Busch Stadium.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


2007 was my last time there! Perhaps if there is another conference there sometime!

castiron said...

Kay Arthur's studies and conferences are pricey. I went thru many studies and also some training conferences in my early 20's only because a generous mentor bought me the books and paid the conference fees.

I loved the studies and the training, especially the ones that were on a book of the Bible rather than topical. It showed me how to study a whole book and keep it all in context, instead of a verse here and a verse here, all I was getting at the time.

But it only took a study or two to learn how to do this type of particular study, and then I didn't need to buy any more materials. I could study a book on my own. I didn't need the hand-holding. I told my mentor to stop buying me the workbooks, because they were just a waste of money. (Comes a time when you should take the training wheels off a kid's bike!)

As far as marking in your Bible, I agree that the point Arthur makes is ridiculous. When learning her special technique, yes, you need to mark key words in a passage. But every workbook has theScripture typed up, double-spaced, in the back of the workbook (at least when I was using them) and you can mark up those instead of the pages of your Bible. You can print out your own worksheets for this purpose, easy these days with internet access and Bible software. I used to write out my own Scripture on graph paper, which I found even more helpful, since I was getting the Word in my heart as I wrote it out.

I'm "trained" to teach this method but I never did. I love the method but hate having to show her talks (videotape at the time) at the end of each session. Then it's more Arthur and less the class and what they have been learning by pouring into the Scriptures themselves. I've had so many classes where we are discussing wonderful insights and then be cut abrupt because we have to fit the Kay talk in. Ugh.

Women don't need these superstar celebs and their books in their Women's Bible Studies. Maybe once in a great while to study an important topic or to get the ball rolling. But everything we need is in the Bible, we need to abide in Him, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and DIG into the Word.

Mo Jo said...

Hi Glenn,

I enjoyed ALL the comments. I did the leadership and teacher training, as well as several courses with Precepts here in the UK.
I didn't carry on with either the leadership or teacher roles as I found the course method very restrictive, controlling, blinkered and overly focused at the expense of the individuals involved. Also, it was very much like the Alpha course, where doctrinal issues were NOT fleshed out and the course gave some overviews and insight into the various studies but controversial issues such as baptism were never touched. The course is indeed very ecumenical, and bland. Once you've done one study it becomes very much of a muchness (the same old same old). Many people became bored, as it was so repetitive. It followed a set format, where people were NOT encouraged to stretch their wings spiritually.