Bible Study – part one

04 Mar 2016

Bible Study – part one

Why study the Bible?

For those new to Christianity and those who have been around awhile, Bible study is essential! After accepting Jesus as your personal savior and believing in God’s plan of salvation, one of the most important things for you to do is learn about reading and studying the Bible. When I first became a Christian I was on fire for the things of God. I couldn’t get enough or learn fast enough. I remember sitting next to a man in church and the pastor said, “Open your bibles to…such and such verse in the book of Romans.” I immediately opened my bible and found the reference. But the man sitting next to me was still thumbing through the old testament! He didn’t even know Romans was a new testament book. The man looked at me with a lost look on his face and I offered to help him.

After the first few months of becoming a Christian, I was traveling to different churches with a music ministry and giving my testimony. I was so surprised to meet older Christians who had been in church most of their life and they knew very little about the bible! They would come up to me after the service and comment about my bible knowledge. But you should have seen the look on their faces when they asked me, “How long have you been a Christian?” I replied 3 months. They didn’t believe me. I wanted to ask them, “How is it you don’t know these things?” “Don’t you read your Bible?”
But that is the case with so many people. They pick up their Bible from the shelf, dust it off, and carry it to church. The only time they open it is when the pastor says, “Turn to…” They listen to the sermon, close their Bible, go home and put it back on the shelf until the next service. Friends, it is through the Bible that we learn about God! The Bible is God speaking to us. It’s his communication and guidance not only for practical everyday living, but for eternal life too.

The Bible is God’s word and message to us.

So, why wouldn’t you want to learn what God has to say? God commands us to study the Bible. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15) Studying and learning leads to knowledge. The more we know the greater our faith in God. Did you know our faith can grow and increase? “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17) The more you hear, learn, and study the word of God, the the greater your faith will become. This is one of God’s important principles. Where did we learn about it? In the Bible of course.

But the Bible is not just a list of commands. It is where we learn about God’s promises to us, as well as, what He has done and given us. Also, with greater knowledge, it is easier to share your faith and the good news of the salvation message with others. It is important to read, study, memorize, and meditate upon God’s word. “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Josh. 1:7-8 nas)
Notice in these verses that God gives us a command and then a promise for us if we do it. Meditate, learn, and do it; Then you will be prosperous and have success! How many self-help books and gurus are there teaching about how to be successful? All we really need is to know what the creator of the world has to say on the subject.

The most important thing to know about Bible study is…just do it.

You must do it, so the challenge is to find a way that works for you. You have to have a plan, or you will miss the goal. “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14 nas) You have to make a commitment to read and study on a regular daily and weekly basis. The word commitment means to put in a place of safekeeping, like being locked away in a prison, in order to carry out an action deliberately; to assign it to memory permanently. Other synonyms that come to mind are: trust, obligate, bind, and pledge. So, making a commitment means: pledging to bind your obligation in your memory (like putting it in prison) trusting yourself for its safekeeping.

Bible study needs to be part of your everyday life just like prayer! Knowing God’s word and hiding it in your heart will keep you from sin and temptation. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word. Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee. I will meditate on Thy precepts, and regard Thy ways. I shall delight in Thy statutes; I shall not forget Thy word.” (Ps. 119:9, 11, 15-16 nas)

Also, the Bible is very clear about this, we don’t want to be lead astray by the teaching of men. We need to know if it is in the Bible or not. Does the Bible really say that? I worked with a man once in a factory. I knew he had recently accepted Jesus as his savior. It was very hot this particular summer, and inside the factory temperatures could easily get over 100 degrees. We were allowed to wear shorts and tank tops because of the heat. As a supervisor, part of my job was to make sure people didn’t get too hot and pass out from heat exhaustion. Well, this man kept wearing long sleeve shirts and pants. He would sweat buckets and I was continually concerned about him staying hydrated. Finally, I told him it was alright to wear cooler clothing. He said, “Oh, no I can’t do that!” I asked why. He replied that in his denominational church the men were required to wear long sleeve shirts so as not to tempt any ladies by showing the skin of their arms. I asked him to show me where it said that in the Bible! Hear me now; I don’t have anything against denominational churches or dressing modestly, but to follow the teaching of men without regard for the bible is foolishness.

Let the Bible speak for itself. 2 Tim. 2:15 says we should “rightly divide the word of God.” Don’t be deceived by false teaching or rules and regulations of men. It is enough just to learn and understand what God has for us. We learned that God commands us to study. This is how we come to know more about God and His plan for our life. God is concerned about us and has given us a manual for living. If you want to know about parenting, relationships, or finances…read the book. If you want to learn who you are because of Christ or what the future holds…read the book. If you want to be able to give an account of what you believe and why…read the book. Don’t want to be deceived, then…read the book.

My friends, I hope this has been an encouragement for you to make reading and studying a part of your everyday life. The benefits are too numerous to list in this writing. In part one, we have covered the “why” of Bible studying. In part two and three we will teach about the practical “how to” and “benefits of” studying. Remember God’s promise to you; if you hide His word in your heart, then you will be prosperous and successful! May God bless you.

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JD Wilhite

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