A regular time of Bible study is a crucial
aspect of our Christian lives. Because it was God Himself who inspired the authors
of the Bible, we are reading and studying the very words of God. Everything of eternal
value that we know concerning God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our fellow human
beings, and ourselves is found in the pages of Scripture. Peter refers to our need:
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow
up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”—The
source of that milk is God’s Word. (1 Peter 2:1-3 ESV)
We grow as Christians as we hear the Word preached or taught. When the church gathers
to worship, we are involved in Bible study as we listen and actively engage God’s
Word while it is preached to us. But we need a steady, daily diet to grow deep in
our faith. Peter challenges us to crave spiritual nourishment like a baby craves
milk. We satisfy that craving through regular, personal Bible study.
There are several important benefits to Bible study. First, Bible study helps us
to know God. As you read and study the Bible, you are reading God’s revelation
of Himself. You discover the person, plan, character, mind, love and will of our
God. You can’t hope to know God apart from His Word, and you can’t know
His revealed Word apart from reading and studying it.
Second, it is through Bible study that we know ourselves. Hebrews 4:12 tells us
that, "The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged
sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and
marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." The Bible
cuts through our self-made appearance and reveals the true nature of our hearts.
It lays bare our secret motivations and plans that we try so hard to hide - even
from ourselves. When we study God’s Word, it serves as a mirror, clearly exposing
our true nature and motivating us to change.
Third, Bible study facilitates our growth in maturity. The Bible is more than a
book of facts and information. The Bible is alive, and time in it results in transformation.
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof,
for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate,
equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). For the Bible to have its desired
effect on us, we need to spend adequate time in it and commit to obeying what we
Fourth, through Bible study God develops in us a new set of priorities and values.
Left to ourselves, our minds and desires become enslaved to the temporal things
of this world. Scripture delivers us from that bondage, and gives us an eternal
perspective because it renews our minds (Romans 12:1-2). As we regularly and frequently
renew our mind with Scripture, our thoughts, desires and actions come more in line
with God's. We begin to adopt His perspective on our purpose and identity. Our priorities
come more in line with God's value system.
Fifth, Bible study instructs us so that we can overcome temptation. Not only does
the Bible reveal our true nature and serve to identify our needs; but it also is
preventative in helping us avoid sin and combat temptation. The Bible warns us in
advance of the kinds of temptations we can expect. Scripture also tells us the process
of how temptation works (James 1:12-17), and teaches us how to deal with temptation
(1Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 6:10-18).
Lastly, God uses His word to give us guidance and direction for our lives. In the
Bible we learn God’s moral will for practically every area of life. While
it does not spell out every detail, it does give us the clear parameters within
which we must remain as we move through life. As we develop a good knowledge of
God’s commands, prohibitions and principles, we become armed with the wisdom
we need to shape the decisions we must make.
The Bible is a treasure. It is amazing to think that the God of the universe wrote
us a book so that we could know Him! We need to treat it like a valued treasure
and spend time every day reading it and studying to know precisely what it means.
If Bible study is new to you, I recommend these resources:
How To Study The Bible by John MacArthur
How To Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur
How To Study Your Bible for Kids by Kay Arthur and Janna Arndt