Do I Really Have To "Study" The Bible?
If you grew up in church at all you have probably heard about the Pharisees. These teachers of the law knew the Scriptures and knew about Jesus, but still missed His first coming all together. Their self-righteousness had blinded them. Studying the Bible isn’t about being smarter than the guy next to you at church or about preparing us to win a biblical argument, but to point us toward Jesus as our source for eternal life. Our knowledge of God’s Word isn’t useful unless it leads us to good and strengthens our faith. The more we study the Bible, the more we realize how much we don’t know and how great God is. Bible study should humble us and remind us of His perfection. The Bible is one story stretched out over 66 books that all point to Jesus. That means that the first reason we should study is to know Jesus. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul says that the Scriptures are profitable. What that means is that the Holy Sprit uses our Bible study to teach and correct. It helps us understand God’s Word and points us to the truth when we are wrong and then shows us how to obey.
The world today tries to feed us so many lies, so how do we know what is good? We must stay in the Word. The Bible is our standard for testing everything that claims to be true. Even as I am writing this, the Holy Spirit is using past Bible studies to draw me to the truth about in-depth Bible study itself! In the fall, I was part of a ladies Bible study group at Central that studied Jesus’ I am statements. Jesus says that He is the true vine and He tells us to remain in Him. Many people try to be good by the world’s standard, but Jesus says the only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to Him, like a branch attached to a vine. Apart from Christ our efforts are unfruitful. The Word of God transforms us when we stay close. The Word of God gives us wisdom, joy, warnings, and records God’s promises to us. When we study God’s Word, the Holy Spirit reveals our heart’s intentions and what our motives really are.
Ultimately, the Bible reveals the nature of God so that we will know what is good, holy, and perfect. When we study the Bible deeply, we learn about God’s character and His attributes. But when we open our Bibles and pick out a verse here and a verse there to justify our opinions or to find a quick answer, then we are making Bible study about us. If the only time we open our Bible is to find a verse to make us feel better, then we have missed the whole point. The Bible isn’t about us, it is about God and his ultimate plan of sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be in a right relationship with Him. In-depth Bible study is essential for believers because if we are not studying the Bible, or if we are very topically reading the Bible, then how will we as believers be able to imitate Christ? It would be impossible.