The Need for Bible Study: Part 2 Personally
In May of 2014 we posted an article concerning the value of studying the Bible together. There is a critical need for good teaching and preaching in the church today, and folks do not need to neglect the assembling of themselves together. Hopefully you were encouraged in that article to be more intent on getting to church gatherings where the people of God gather around the word of God. If you have not read that article, please go back and do so. If you did read it but need to be refreshed on the subject, please go back and read it again. I am absolutely convinced of the need for the church to study the Scriptures together. Music is good, singing is encouraging, worship is necessary, prayers should be offered, the Lord’s Supper should be celebrated, meals ought to be shared, fellowship is needed, but none of those things are worthwhile if they are not flowing out of a clear and convincing understanding of God’s word. The Bible informs us of all these wonderful things.
In Part 1 of this discussion we did a little math and concluded that if we were to spend three hours in the corporate assembly each week setting our minds on the things of Christ, then we only have three hours to combat the remaining 109 waking hours of the week that we spend in the “world” with all of its struggles. I would hope that you would take advantage of those three hours per week and make the most of them that you can. Come to church gatherings prepared to engage with the Lord, His word, and His people. I would also recommend that you take advantage of what the Lord has made available to us today for personal Bible study.
We have been blessed beyond the wildest dreams of those from yesteryear. Bibles are affordable and prevalent. They are all around us. We have superb English translations and all sorts of tools to use to understand the Bible’s meaning. In the homes of most Christians, and even the homes of many unbelievers, there are numerous Bibles. Personally, I have about 20 different Bibles in my office; some are leatherbound and others hardback, there are several different translations, and there are several different study Bibles. Of course, I do not even open many of those Bibles anymore because almost all of them are offered online for free at places like www.biblegateway.com. There are even several different study tools and commentaries available online for free. Honestly, there is no excuse for Christians to not read and study the Bible.
I am convinced from reading the Scriptures themselves that God has always wanted His people to hear, read, understand, and meditate on His revealed word. God is a personal God and has wanted to make Himself known. To do so, he has raised up prophets and apostles to speak and write His holy word. So, Moses says, “Set your hearts on all the words. . . . For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life” (Deuteronomy 32). The psalmist also says, “Blessed is the man . . . [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1). “Law” there means “instruction.” The Lord Jesus Himself even quoted Moses saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4). Finally, let me add the apostle Paul’s famous statement about the importance of Scripture, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [or “God-breathed”], 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.” (2 Timothy 3). The Bible is useful for all sorts of things. For the Christian, it is our life and salvation.
While the saints of ancient times and many around the world today did/do not have Bibles in their hands, they were intent on hearing, learning, and memorizing it so that they could live it. If they could put forth that much effort, we should at the very least be willing to read the Scriptures outside of the church. We can and probably should read the Scriptures in the morning, during our lunch break, with our families in the evenings, and before we lay our heads down to sleep. There are all sorts of ways to go about personal Bible study. You can read through certain books of the Bible, or you could read a brief passage in the morning and meditate on it throughout the day. If you don’t know where to start, why don’t you take the sermon text from the previous Sunday and read it again, think about it, and pray about it?