I curse my studies. Sometimes, anyway. What good is it to be following a Bible reading plan for the faithful when half of what is going on during my reading is (Lord, have mercy!) a critique of the translation, a mental retroversion to the Hebrew and/or Greek involved, mental notes on historical illumination and literary parallels, and all manner of distractions. The wonder is often gone. I hate that.
The same experience can afflict the classicist, who can no longer sail with Telemachus in a black ship across the wine-dark sea to see fair-haired Menelaus, for all the scholarly footnotes that howl in his head.
Is there much practical difference between this and being unable any longer to read the book in question? Is a textual scholar — let us say one with perfect command of Homeric Greek, who has memorised the scholia and knows every volume of important scholarship published in the last millennium — perhaps the least able, of all men, to read the Odyssey any more?
Kevin rightly observes the problems in bible reading for those with too much head knowledge. It has been many years since the ordinary off-the-shelf bible-reading guides have been of much service to me. They are aimed at some common average, of sympathies and intellect and attitude; and perhaps few of those inclined to study, even as amateurs, will fall into that group.
I say this with regret, not pride. I am the loser, not the gainer thereby. I have not gained in knowledge of God; I have merely become unable to learn from some who know more than me on every important point, except in matters of manuscript studies.
How easy it is for the less perceptive to suppose that they have “risen above” this sort of guide, when in truth they have merely become unable to read it and profit from it, for all intents and purposes.
What shall it profit a man, if he knows every footnote in Nestle-Aland, and loses his soul? In my time of dying, which may be very much sooner than I suppose, how much of that to which I have devoted my life will seem other than dry and dusty shreds of paper?