WHY SHOULD WE STUDY THE BIBLE?
(Tuesday, May 12, 2020)
GOD’s revealed words, the Bible, is so important that Jesus said of it, “Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). In other words, if we want to live life to the fullest, as God intended, we must listen to and heed God’s written Word. The Bible is an incredible book of history and facts that proves that there is a God that created all things. Most important of all, the Bible is the words of God. It contains the mind of God and His will for each one of our lives. That is why the Bible was given to us. Paul the Apostle says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This reminds us that God’s words are totally sufficient for all of our needs. We don’t need anything else. We Christians can be totally secure in the Lord by studying the Bible because it is God’s plan for our life. Revelation 1:3 says that those who read or hear prophetic words of the Book of Revelation will be blessed. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
The Bible is not just for theologians and scholars. Rather, it is God’s words in plain language intended for everyone. Together, we must explore the importance of Bible study and its relevance to everyday life. Far from being a stuffy or boring book, the Bible is the inspired and authoritative words of God, helpful in building us up so that we may serve, love and glorify God and His Son, Jesus Christ, as we are intended to do. Why should we study the words of God? The following are a few scriptural reasons that we should consider when answering this question.
2.0 WHY TO STUDY THE BIBLE?
2.1 To learn who God is, know him better, and recognize his voice
How do we get to know someone? When we meet someone new, we take in our first impression, listen to what they say, and watch what they do. Eventually, the real person will become known. We go through a similar process getting to know God. Of course, God can reveal himself in any way imaginable, at any time and to anyone. But if we have his Word, then he expects us to read it and to know him through it. As we read his Word and observe his actions, we get to know who he is. Since the Bible is God’s Word, studying it is a way to know God better. Through His words we come to know not only the nature and attributes of God, but we also come to understand His plan for each of us. In a larger sense, we also come to know God’s plan in history, His sovereignty, His providence, His love and more. There is only so much we can learn about God apart from the Bible. But with it we can know God better. The Bible tells us how one truly gets to heaven, and it is not only by being good or by being baptized or by anything else we do (John 14:6; Ephesians 2:1-10; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:10-18, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9-13). Along this line, God’s Word shows us just how much God loves us (Romans 5:6-8; John 3:16). And it is in learning this that we are drawn to love Him in return (1 John 4:19). The Bible equips us to serve God (2 Timothy 3:17; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). It helps us know how to be saved from our sin and its ultimate consequence (2 Timothy 3:15). Meditating on God’s Word and obeying its teachings will bring success in life (Joshua 1:8; James 1:25). God’s Word helps us see sin in our lives and helps us get rid of it (Psalm 119:9, 11). It gives us guidance in life, making us wiser than our teachers (Psalm 32:8, 119:99; Proverbs 1:6). The Bible keeps us from wasting years of our lives on that which does not matter and will not last (Matthew 7:24-27). Because the Bible is the direct Word of God, breathed out by His Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16), it is accurate, reliable, and inerrant. Then the Bible shows us how to respond to God’s love and grace by serving Him (2 Timothy 3:17; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12) and living the life He meant for us to live (Joshua 1:8; James 1:25). It teaches us how to reject sin in ourselves (Psalm 119:9, 11) and in the world (Romans 12:2; James 4:4). How to focus on what really matters (1 Timothy 6:17). And how to actively participate in God’s plan (1 Corinthians 9:23).
Isaiah 34:16 says, “Seek ye out the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail ….”
Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
Acts 17:11“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
Joshua 1:8“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Jesus said, right before he was arrested, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). And Paul wrote, I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (Ephesians 1:17) There is no error in God’s Word. The law of the Lord is perfect concerning our soul. The testimony of the Lord is not only infallible it is inerrant. Proverbs 30:5-6, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” The purity of His words does not need anything added to it. God warns us not to misrepresent His scripture.
2.2 To gain wisdom, learn what’s right, correct wrong thinking, and receive guidance
It’s tough to figure out what is right and wrong in this world, isn’t it? Cultural understandings, other people’s views, and our own biases make it very difficult to know with certainty how to handle the questions and problems life brings us. Even with the immovable truth of the Bible, it’s not easy. For certain questions, Bible study is more complicated than settling on a verse or two and figuring that we’ve got our answer. Often there are other passages that present a different perspective, and we must take it all in while asking for wisdom and depending on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 1:1-2 “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;”
Proverbs 2:1-5My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, [and] liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Psalm 119: 105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart.”
The more we study the Bible, the more we realize that it is not an outdated and irrelevant book, but the living Word of God. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (1 Timothy 3:16-17) Bible also helps us avoid theological error. The Bible tells us, “Watch your life and doctrine closely” (1 Timothy 4:16), adding that we “must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). If the Bible is our authority for faith and life, then the inspired words it contains will help us to avoid error. In a pluralistic world with many religious and non-religious ideas competing for attention, studying the Bible provides us with a firm foundation in God’s truth rather than the errors of the world. Knowing the Bible also helps us respond to error and answer questions that skeptics and others may have about it.
2.3 To see and follow Jesus
Our goal in life is to follow Jesus well. It doesn’t matter if we live in the United States, China, Brazil, India or a crowded refugee camp; if we live a comfortable and prosperous life; or if we must scrape together every meal. If we follow Jesus well, we will have lived a successful life. Jesus knew the Scriptures that were available to him, and he followed his Father flawlessly. He was not influenced by the Jewish elite of his time, the Pharisees; in fact, he often opposed them. He healed and delivered many people who came to him, and he taught with matchless authority. He was perfectly loving, yet he did not overlook sin, but took it upon himself at the cross.
We can’t follow someone we do not know, and we get to know Jesus by reading the Bible. We’ve heard it said that Jesus can be found on every page of the Bible. The whole Bible is his story: It begins in a garden, it ends in a city, and all the way through, it is about Jesus Christ.In fact, John said in the opening words of his Gospel, speaking of Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is the Word of God, and the Word of God is all about Jesus. From Genesis to Revelation, God’s Word points to Jesus. He is the One we need, and his Word is the way we follow him.Only by studying the Bible do we have a chance of following Jesus well by rooting ourselves in him and trusting him to change us. Bible study is a regular reminder of what it means to live like Jesus and for Jesus: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Philippians 2:5“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
2.4 The Word of God is complete and is totally authoritative
The Bible does not need any new chapters or verses. It is all given to us already. Many cults add their own books or commentaries to the Bible. All we need is God’s Word because it is the holy Word of God. It is complete. In Revelation 22:18-19, God gives us a warning, “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
The book of Psalms 119:89 says “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.” The Word of God is the only source for absolute divine authority. This divine authority is for you and me as servants of Jesus Christ. When some say, “I have a word from the Lord for you,” write it down and as you study God’s word see if the Lord speaks to you through His Scriptures. Only then will you know if the Lord is truly speaking to you.
2.5 The Word of God will accomplish what it promises
If God told you something will happen, and you wait, it will happen. In Isaiah 55:11 it says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” God sent His word to accomplish His perfect will in our lives. If God makes a promise to you, He will fulfil it in His own time. There are so many promises given to us in the Bible. These promises reassure us and bring comfort to our lives in our times of trial. I challenge you to take time to study the Word of God. The Lord will show you wonderful things that will change your life.