Without such knowledge, one can lose what the text means altogether and impose contemporary viewpoints on the text that simply don’t belong. You call this peripheral issues. I say that it is trying as much as possible to let the bible speak in its original voices through its original authors to its original recipients. The more we can do this, the more we can accurately apply the biblical messages to ourselves.
You have set up a false binary, that exegetical and contextual study leads one away from seeing God and his character, and moral understanding, and that systematic theology, which is what you are advocating, is the only way to know God and his will. Is that what you felt when I wrote about Christ at the end of my last post? Is that where you think this type of study has led me?
I have already said that personal knowledge of the bible is a valuable way of knowing God. You are boiling it down to a particular hermeneutic that you say the bible endorses. I say that you are ignoring context even in the texts you use to support your premise.
2 Timothy 3:16 was written to Timothy as a teacher. It was his job to explain and interpret the scriptures for his congregations. It was meant as an encouragement for him as a teacher. Many church members didn’t have personal copies of the scrolls/scriptures to study at home. Many were probably not literate, or very literate.
This doesn’t mean that I’m saying that we shouldn’t study the scriptures today. What I am saying is that you are using a text and trying to make it say something that it isn’t really saying. This is the danger of biblicism, and saying that the bible is its own interpreter, apart from context, background, original life setting, etc. One starts with a premise, and then scours the bible to prove it, often out of context, with a concordance, drawing all kinds of false linguistic equivalencies to prove ones premise. Upon deeper contextual studies, the problems and the discord of such a methodology and its results often bubbles to the surface.
Unlike you, I’m not saying that one can’t know God or live a moral life through such study. I do believe that real distortions of the biblical message(s) arise from such study, and that these ideas do have consequences. it is why one shouldn’t downplay the gifts and gifted people that God has set in the church to help bring understanding and clarity.