Some preachers and teachers have a talent for bringing the Scriptures to life. And when we sit under their teaching or read their books, it whets our appetite to learn more. They have a gift of transmitting.
But we sometimes overlook two important elements. First that what they are really transmitting is their thirst for the Word. And secondly, that they have great wealth to impart because they truly know their Bible.
Most of us, as Christians, would never negate the need of studying the Word. But so few of us actually do it. This has troubled me for some time. Both in myself and in others around me. One reason for establishing Bible Spotlight is to ignite more hunger for God and his Word. Starting with my own life, and hopefully extending as an aid to others who choose to follow along.
Are we really convinced of the need for Bible study? I mean really convinced?
I had the privilege recently of listening to missionaries from difficult service fields. Muslim nations where following Christ means risking your life. Kazakhstan, where it is illegal to even own a Bible. And Borneo and Indonesia among tribes who had never heard the Word of God, or who don’t have the Word in their own language.
Such stories are moving. And many of us go home with a sense of guilt over our own neglect of God’s Word which sits unopened and dusty on our shelf.
Having the Word of God at our disposal is a great gift — and a great responsibility.
God gives gifts so we will use them. The gift of teaching only instructs if the teaching is brought forth. Prayers only help when they’re offered. The one who encourages must open his mouth. And the one who provides hospitality must unlock his door.
Likewise, our Bible will only feed, lead, and guide us if we read and study it.
We know this, yet often fail. In fact, according to Into Thy Word, Christians who actually read the Bible regularly or have read the entire Bible are in the minority. And those who study the Bible for themselves are in an ever greater minority, even among pastors!
I don’t know about you, but that worries me! So I decided to take another look at why we should study the Bible. It seems we need constant reminders, and perhaps such a list should be required weekly reading for all disciples.
Why Bible study is so vital.
God commands it.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-9: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
And in 2 Timothy 3:14-17:
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
It is the best and principle way of knowing God, his will, his ways, and what he expects of us.
The Bible is our handbook for life, and can teach us God’s principles for how to work, live, train our children, and walk in his righteousness.
Because, as Christians, we claim to make decisions and evaluations based on the Word.
But it is foolish and risky, or lazy at best, to make important life decisions based on second-hand knowledge. Based mostly on what a preacher, teacher, or author states. Much of the teaching out there is great, but always subject to error or human bias. We need to study the Word for ourselves, and learn first-hand what God is saying.
Because no one, no matter how good a teacher or preacher, can teach or impart everything we need to know.
They can teach the Scripture according to their knowledge. They can offer great insight, wisdom, and lessons. But no one has the time, ability, or knowledge to teach all the Bible. It’s up to us to dig in and learn on our own.
Because it is vital to our spiritual growth and maturity.
Only proper spiritual nourishment will help us grow to become like Christ. And become mature enough to withstand trials and difficulties, and stand against temptation.
Because the Word of God, by renewing our minds and purifying our hearts, helps us gain a right perspective.
People everywhere seek after peace, happiness, and satisfaction. But everything this transitory earth offers is temporary and fleeting. Studying the Word can instill an eternal mindset and value system. By lifting our minds and hearts to heavenly matters, we begin to see that true meaning and purpose are found only in God. And that lasting peace, joy, and satisfaction only come from walking with him.
Because God commands diligence and abhors both laziness and complacency.
We become experts at finding excuses for not studying the Word, even though we know God commands and desires it. Bible study, like prayer, is work, and requires effort. But as with anything worthwhile, they are worth the effort involved.
Because love for God’s Word shows our love for him.
Christ says we must show our love through obedience. Our own complacency over the Word contradicts our love declaration to Christ. It reveals a lukewarm heart.
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth, Revelation 3:15-16.
These are just a few of the many reasons for Bible study. The important thing is to just do it!
Yes, it takes work. Yes, it takes dedication and diligence. It will not always come easily. But we truly can do all things with the Lord’s help and through his strength, Philippians 4:13.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him, James 1:5.