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The Case for Studying God’s Word

“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.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Bible clearly talks about the importance of reading and studying the Scriptures, yet studies show that out of more than 2 billion Christians across the world, less than 30% will read their entire Bible. In fact, among American Christians, more than 82% say they only read their Bible when they’re in church on Sunday. Is it any wonder that the American church is where it is today when so few people actually read – much less study – God’s Word?

I plan to talk about Bible reading and daily time spent with God in another piece, so it’s important to understand that while Bible reading and study are both essential, they’re different. You need to read the Bible daily and have some quiet time with God. This is a time for wide Bible reading, thanksgiving, praying, praising, meditating, and confession – it’s a way to let God speak to your mind and refresh your spirit.

While daily reading is so important, the Bible is deep and packed with meaning that’s easy to overlook if you’re reading quickly through chapters and verses. While Bible reading is often broad, Bible study concentrates on a single topic, book, or character for closer study. Studying God’s Word involves digging into what you’re reading and figuring out what the Bible is really saying to you. It involves longer blocks of time in the Word, and you may set aside a couple of days a week dedicated to Bible study instead of the daily reading you do for your devotions.

Studying God’s Word takes more effort and time. It’s like digging – the deeper you go the more treasure you’ll find. And the ultimate goal isn’t just to be able to quote verses or recite doctrine, but to learn more about what the Bible teaches so you’re able to better apply God’s Word to your life.

In a time where even reading the Bible is on a decline, why should we be devoting our time to studying God’s Word? Let me make the case to you for why you should be spending time in Bible study regularly.

What Do We Know About the Word of God?

Before we look at the actual reasons we should be engaging in Bible study, let’s take a look at what we know about the Word of God.

Infallible

“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.” (Proverbs 30:5-6 NKJV)

First, we know that the Word of God is infallible. That word means that it is incapable of being wrong, always effective, and never failing. The Scriptures are pure, and we are warned by the Bible to not add anything to it or misrepresent His Word to others. The very fact that the Bible is effective, never failing, and incapable of being wrong is a good reason to be digging deeper and deeper into this book as Christians.

Complete

“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.” (Revelation 22:18-9 NKJV)

The book of Revelation warns against adding to or taking away from the Word of God. The Bible needs nothing else – it’s already complete in the form God gave to us. Various cults have added their own commentaries or books to the Bible, but the Scriptures are the holy Word of God, and that is all we need.

Sufficient

“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.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

God’s Word is completely sufficient for our needs, and it’s God’s plan for our life that we study it and become secure in him and the complete children of God he wants us to be.

Accomplishes What it Promises

“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return Me voice, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11 NKJV)

We know that when God tells us something in the Bible, it is going to happen. The Scriptures promise it. The Word of God will never return void, but will always accomplish what God pleases. The Bible was given to us to help accomplish the will of God in our lives, and this book is packed with promises that can comfort us and reassure us because we know that God will make good on them. And when we study the Word of God, we’ll find wonderful promises that will change our lives.

Divine Authority

“Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89 NKJV)

Only the Bible is divinely inspired and has divine authority over our lives. If someone tells you they have a word from God for you, take that and compare it to what God’s Word is saying to you. When you’re looking for guidance, study the Bible and allow God to speak through the Scriptures. Only then will you be able to know if it’s truly God speaking to you because the Bible has divine authority.

Reasons We Must Study God’s Word

Understanding more about God’s Word and its divine authority, completeness, and infallibility begin to open our eyes to why it’s so critical that we begin digging into the Scriptures. And here are just a few more reasons that help make the case for engaging in regular Bible Study as Christians.

Reason #1 – To Grow in Christ

The Bible often refers to new Christians as babies in Christ, and all babies have to grow. In the book of 2 Peter, Peter instructs the early church, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 

In 1 Peter chapter 2, he also reminds us that we should have a desire to dig into the Word of God, saying, “As newborn babies, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” This picture compares the Word of God to food and represents the hunger we should have for it. Just as the body requires food to grow, our souls require the ‘food’ of the Bible to grow in Christ.

Paul, in the book of Ephesians, also has a similar concern for the church. He didn’t want the believers to be tossed about with every new doctrine that sprung up. Instead, he wanted them to be strong and steady in the Lord. If we fail to develop our understanding of the Bible, it’s easy to fall to the doctrines taught by false teachers. Studying the Bible helps us grow and keeps us protected from the wrong spiritual influences.

Reason #2 – Personal Encouragement and Blessing

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4 NKJV)

It’s easy for us to experience discouragement and tough times as Christians. Whatever the cause of our discouragement, studying the Bible helps us dig into the promises of God and read stories of how God worked incredible things in the lives of others. Studying God’s Word encourages us to keep going in our own lives and brings comfort to our hearts when we face tough times.

Reason #3 – Personal Guidance

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105 NKJV)

Have you ever wondered what you should do about a situation in your life? Maybe you were finding it difficult to make a decision. When faced with life’s decisions, the Bible can help guide us in what to do. As the Psalmist says, it’s a light to our path. Studying God’s Word can help us see where we’re going.

When the Israelites were journeying in the wilderness after leaving Egypt, they were guided by a pillar of fire at night and a cloud by day. Today, we have God’s written Word that acts as a pillar of fire to guide us.

Many times we’ll find by studying the Bible that the Scriptures address the specific situation we’re dealing with at the time. And even when it doesn’t, we’ll find plenty of wisdom that can be applied to our lives so we make sure God’s Word is guiding us. And even though we live in a world that’s filled with moral and spiritual darkness, the Bible can keep us steady and light our way if we only study it.

Reason #4 – To Prepare Ourselves for Teaching the Truth to Others

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NKJV)

We aren’t just to study the Scriptures for ourselves, but to prepare ourselves to teach the truth to others – specifically, the next generation (our children). This text talks about teaching our children through the day, inside and outside of our homes. We can only teach our children and others the truth of God if we’ve studied God’s Word ourselves.

We need to have answers for our children and for the world around us when they have questions about the Bible. We must be prepared to give an answer for what we believe, and studying the Scriptures prepares us for this important task.

Reason #5 – Defend Against the Devil’s Attacks

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:11, 17 NJKV)

It doesn’t take long after becoming a Christian to realize that walking this path involves spiritual warfare. That’s why we’re told by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians to put on the armor of God to help defend ourselves from the wiles of the devil. In this passage, Paul specifically talks about the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word.

Think about the times that Jesus was tempted by the devil when he was in the wilderness. He defended himself by using God’s word. In the three specific times we know he was tempted by the devil, he responded with verses of the Old Testament to rebuff the Devil’s temptations. Studying the Word of God helps us better learn the Scriptures so we’re able to take up the sword of the Spirit and use the Bible to defend ourselves against the attacks of the Devil.

Reason #6 – To Discern Between Good and Evil (and the teachings of others)

“But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14 NKJV)

We live in a world that calls evil good and good evil. If we’re not careful, it’s tough for us to discern between good and evil in today’s society. That’s where the Word of God comes in. Studying into the Bible and digging beyond the surface to find what God’s saying to us gives us the power to discern between good and evil.

We also can use the study of the Scriptures to confirm what teachers and preachers are saying to us today. Christians should never just accept the messages from preachers and teachers because they’re on the radio, humorous, or they have years of study at a seminary. The content they present must be true and line up with the word of God. And this is the way that we can avoid being snagged by the teachings of the false teachers that the Bible warns us about.

How to Study God’s Word

After making the case for studying God’s Word and looking at why Bible study is so important, it’s also essential to know how we should go about studying the Bible. Studying the Scriptures has the power to radically transform your life, heal your spirit and restore your soul. But if you’re not sure where to begin, here are some helpful steps to help you begin adding Bible study to your life.

1 – Start with an Open Mind and Love for Truth

First, you must start with an open mind and love for the truth. The truth isn’t always easy to accept, but we must be ready to accept and obey it in our lives. Be ready for God to reveal his truth to you, even if what you discover requires you to make changes in your life. We should hunger for truth and righteousness. When you go into Bible study with a mind that is open to what God has for you and a deep love for God’s truth, your heart is prepared to accept the messages God has for you in his Word.

2 – Pray for Illumination from God

Before you begin your time of Bible study, spend some time praying. Ask God to illuminate his Word as you dig into it. You don’t want to approach the Scriptures as a textbook. Instead, you want to approach the Bible as God’s unique revelation to mankind. Spend time praying for God to not only open up the meaning of his word, but to move you to quickly obey it and share it with others. You may want to close your Bible study time with more prayer to ask God to take what you’ve discovered and help you apply it to your heart and life.

3 – Purposely Set Aside Time for Bible Study

While you should be reading your Bible daily, Bible study may be something you do several times a week. No matter how often you decide to engage in deep study of the Word, make sure you purposely set aside time. Come up with a time that works for you and then make it an appointment with God and His Word.

4 – Have the Right Materials

Make sure you have all the materials easily available. You’ll need your Bible, but some of the other helpful materials you may want to have for Bible study include:

  • Notebook
  • Pens
  • Dictionary
  • Bible concordance
  • Commentaries
  • Original language tools (that help you dig into the original language used in the Bible)
  • Bible atlas
  • Study Bibles

5 – Take Plenty of Notes

As you study the Bible, take plenty of notes along the way. You may want to start out with questions about the passage you’re studying. Then, take some notes on background information that applies to the passage, since it’s often helpful to understand important cultural and historical realities of the time.

Word study notes are also helpful. Jot down notes about keywords you find in the passage. Why? First, these words might be theologically weighty. Words like justification, adoption, or the Son of God all have a lot of theological weight in the Bible and should be considered and studied. Other words may have different meanings depending on their context, which is something to investigate deeper. Logical or transitional words are key as well, since they can help us better understand the flow of thought in a piece of Scripture.

Noting your own cross references is also helpful when studying the bible. As you study, God may bring other related Scriptures to your mind. Write them down. They’ll come in handy in the future and they’ll help you mediate more fully on God’s Word and its interpretation.

Last, if you’re reading through other resources like study Bibles or commentaries, jot down a few quotes along the way. They’ll often help you better understand the meaning of what you’re reading, and putting them on paper helps you remember them, too.

Make Bible Study a Priority 

We know God’s Word is powerful, but we often miss out on what it has to offer because we don’t spend time studying it. Start making it a priority in your life to study the Bible. In addition to your daily devotions, set aside time to dig deeper into God’s Word and what it has to teach you. There’s power in the Scriptures to help you become the person of faith God wants you to be, and there’s power there to help you live a victorious life.

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