Reading the Bible is not where your engagement with the Bible ends. It’s where it begins, or at least ought to. But over the course of my teaching career I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that many Christians think the act of reading Scripture is to be equated with study. That simply isn’t the case.Reading is casual, something done for pleasure. The motivation is personal enjoyment or enrichment, not mastery of the content. We read Scripture to be reminded of God’s story in human history and the life lessons that story provides for our own lives and relationship with God. Bible reading is inherently devotional and low maintenance. Bible study, on the other hand, involves concentration and exertion. We have an intuitive sense that study requires some sort of method or technique, and probably certain types of tools or aids. When we study the Bible we’re asking questions, thinking about context, forming judgments, and looking for more information. It’s not hard to illustrate the difference. Practically anyone could manage to make a cup of coffee, but they’re not baristas. We know instinctively that both perform the same basic task, but what distinguishes the barista is a lot of time, effort, research, and experience in learned technique. It’s the same with Bible study. Let’s say you and your friend were from the moon and didn’t know what coffee was. You’re only mildly interested in the topic, so you decide to look it up in a dictionary. You read that coffee is “a popular beverage made from the roasted and pulverized seeds of a coffee plant.” Good enough. You learned something. But your friend wants to know more—a lot more. How is coffee made? What’s the process? Is there more than one process? Is there more than one kind of coffee bean? Where are the beans grown? Does that make any difference in color, aroma, or flavor? How is coffee different than tea? If it’s a popular beverage, how much is consumed? Does consumption vary by country? State? Gender? Age? IQ? Maybe your friend doesn’t need to discover caffeine. But you get the point. Study requires passion and commitment; reading is way less intense.